Maria Paraschidou, Screen Recording, part of my Instagram performance, 7th of May 2020, Athens.
The idea of creating a different online exhibition occupied me for a while. My work during quarantine focused mainly on my self and the exploration of my concerns during such periods. Testing exhibitions with the data I gathered, proved more and more that this was not what I wanted to show as my Degree Show.
The idea of trying a new medium of art, performance art, was something that I wanted to explore lately, however, nothing before this situation could have a link to my practice and performance art.
Through this preformative piece I experienced moments of pleasure, enjoyment, devastation and fear. Such feelings are definitely evident during creating art of any medium, however, during performance art the self exposure on the public world is an extra weight to carry.
I make art to express my concerns and notions. I make art because I can not exist otherwise. I strongly believe that art is a means of protest as well as a way of questioning the fundamentals.
What am I making at the moment?
I enjoy creating with several mediums, I lately use photography. Through capturing moments and scenes I unveil the beauty of reality that is frequently forgotten. My interest mainly focuses on street photography and urban fabric. In my frames, I include little details of the streets, illegal public and street art as well as urban structures. However, I also enjoy photographing house utilities and objects that form my everyday routine, trying to create a series of similar pictures at different times and places.
How has lockdown affected my practice?
Due to the Covid-19 breakdown, I was forced to focus more on my “house experience” during the quarantine period. Hence, my work currently formes by a body of work influenced by my everyday reality, the low creativity, and low motivation of the period. However, it helped me to concentrate and experiment with new ideas such as performance art. My online Degree Show Exhibition was an Instagram performance were I was uploading a spontaneous phone picture every 10 minutes for 24 hours. My aim was to express and question my contemporary addictions and obsessions to and with the image as well as commentate on the countless information that pops up every second on social media. With humor, I tried to attract my followers’ attention to the exaggeration of the individual’s privacy exposure.
Post 2: a written statement about your artistic practice. The statement must be no more than 300 words long.
Is my life my artistic practice?
Photography enables me to document my life and approach reality from an artistic perspective.
My practice is currently formed by different types of photography. I use photography to capture the beauty of reality that I find in everyday moments, I try to focus on little details that we usually slip by during our everyday routines. I try to find my framed material within my normality and expose moments of personal pleasure and interest.
My work is greatly influenced by my addictions of contemporary life that is heavily linked to social media representation and privacy exposure. Thus, I lately chose to create a preformative piece, captured simply with my phone camera, in order to explore my activity on-line through the original medium of use, the phone. By way of my online performance of posting countless images on Instagram for twenty-four hours, I created a discourse upon themes of overindulgence of image, decadence of the communication networks as well as obsession with self representation and promotion.
Using low quality digital photography I wanted to highlight the aesthetics of our era. When everything takes place online, there is no longer need for a physical venue to host an exhibition. My exhibition was a celebration of the banality of the new era, and simultaneously a critique upon the absence of physical quality and creativity when everything has been done before.
Post 1: A proposal related to the exhibition you would have presented if COVID-19
confinement had not occurred.
My work before Covid-19 outbreak was focusing on slow image-making procedures through film photography that was mainly black and white. It was an exploration of the original and physical creation of depiction of reality, that occurred as an opposition to my contemporary life style. Being overloaded by random digital information, countless image availability and bombardment, I felt fatigue and disgusted.
I wanted to explore the romantic and nostalgic side of real photography. I wanted to explore the routes and create my own physical data of image that can be physically edited and duplicated, but will never be the same image.
This is a series of pictures highlighting the individual’s artistic touch found in the street. I looked closely and carefully in every alley and hidden street to photograph public marks that avow need of creative expression in public space. I perceive that public space vandalism, as people denominate it usually, is a very creative means of questioning and criticising the society’s fallacious apprehension about public space use and public space beauty.
Little Protests series, Maria Paraschidou, Canon AE-1 Program, B&W Retro Film 400, Cardiff, 2019.
As I was working with developing my own pictures I started finding interest in the anomalies of the outcome. I would develop one set of film several times to create different outcomes of the same image, this procedure gave me incredible outcomes of distorted images like the pictures underneath.
My initial idea for the Degree Show exhibition was to create a street scene, almost like an installation piece, where I would create a chaotic background, foul of paint and graffiti, that would be contrasting with two big black and white paintings inspired by my photographs.
I soon changed my mind and started thinking more about exhibiting the actual developed photographs potentially with not such a messy background. I had several ideas, I made a research in creating my own billboards to place my pictures in as well as print the in a big scale and a more professional way. Both ideas were extremely expensive, thus, I had to come up with a more doable idea.
My work were more and more focusing on photography rather than painting, as a result I started trying out ways of displaying pictures.
I tried out making collages on the wall with the small versions of the pictures. I tried different rooms and lightnings, I also took part in an exhibition with a combination of photography and video art as my artworks.
This led to my final idea before the Covid-19 outbreak.
I had two planed trips to go to Berlin and then Athens over Easter time, where I would document different street environments with my film camera as well as video document my experiences through an old analogue video camera. I was thinking of creating a series of contemporary image captured through a contrasting way of creating image that would be slow and imperfect.
The final visualisation of the exhibition could look something like the picture that follows.
In the progress of photography, I started being interested in Video art as well. I wanted to experiment with performance and video art and exhibit work that would be through new mediums and something different to what I was doing until Christmas. I created a video for the Under-whelmed and Over-saturated exhibition that I took part in, being my first professional work that was something different from painting. We created a promoting campain with an Instagram page, a Facebook page, many different posters and booked a very big and artistic space for exhibition. I think this was my most successful exhibition tha hosted more than 200 people during the three days of exhibition. I gathered a lot of experience in desplaying artworks, sound and image fasility set up, advertisement and photography skills.
Through this experience I felt a lot stronger in exhibiting photography artworks as well as doing something closer to video and performance art. It was a good push and a god base for my current development.
After this exhibition I started visualizing my Degree show exhibition to something closer to photography rather than painting.
At first I could picture my exhibition being photography images in relation to painted backgrounds. I had an image of a caotic space in my mind that would refer to street art and graffiti calture and would create a contrast between the black and white photography and the spray paint.
Due to Covid-19 I had to completely change my practice. In the midle of March I traveled back home to Greece, it was one of the most crucial moments for my degree development, however, the facilities and mediums that I could carry with me were limited.
I chose to stop using film photography as I felt like it made no sense when I am not able to develop my own pictures and experience the whole development and outcome in the dark room as previously. The limited space and time led me to use a digital camera that I borrowed from my friend and start taking pictures of the house.
I was in a 15 days quarantine when I traveled back home and that experience greatly limited my motivation and creativity at the time. I was a lot influenced by the low confidence and the problems I was facing due to the outbreak of the virus.
I started taking pictures and videos of my reality, documenting any supermarket visits and house experiences with my quarantine roommates. Unfortunately, the idea of creating a video came to nothing as the facilities I have are not enough for creating a profecional video through my laptop. Thus, I started focusing on digital photography moving from slow image-making to very fast and numerous image-making.
The first two pictures where an effort to find a person throuh my view from the house, something that was very difficult due to the period. I found out that a security guy or a cop was everyday in the same place. This experience of no people in the city center of Athens made me extremely worried and scared for the future.
In development, I had the idea of starting photograph rituals and experiences that take place in the house.
Firstly I tried a time-lapse of the outside view and the inside view and then created collages:
looking at these collages I started thinking of doing a “handmade time-lapse” of my house experience. That was when I started taking pictures of similar objects around the house in different days and times, with different backgrounds in order to collect a series of my house experience over quarantine.
Experimenting with how to exhibit my work I started thinking of online databases and websites I could use. My first idea was a simple website where you can just view photographs in groups and galleries. That is what I made , However it felt like something that was irrelevant with what I wanted to show and commentate up on through my exhibition. Later I tried an exhibition in Artsteps.
I made an artsteps exhibition with some of the pictures to visualise a possible exhibition to present as my final degree show exhibition, however, it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my pictures. I think that it would look nice as an exhibition, with huge good quality pictures but I still wanted to do something different from a simple display of artworks.
Cultural Ethos, pen on paper, October 2019, Maria Paraschidou
Granny, July 2019
At the start of the year I was still interested in drawing paintings and doing sketches.
During last summer I developed my first film, and with the start of the Level 6 year I experimented with tracing memories from photography and sometimes abstracting shapes taken from photography to create vague outlines, drawings and paintings.
On the one hand, tracing teqnique allowed me to maintain specific details of reality that is hard to depict by hand, on the other hand, copying a picture a lot of times could appear shallow in context. That was something that occupied me a lot during first term.
Through an efort to find my personal style and develop the tracing sketches I started creating collaged sketches. Sketches that would contain parts of diferent images from my photographs. This kind of scetches started to make more sence as well as carry a personal identity.
Every time I followed a ritual to create a drawing, for me it was very important to collect the elements, from a photo, that had a character. When it was people like the Hold my hand when nude-xxx, I wanted to focus on same caracters at different times and possitions. Some other examples of sketches also contain repetition of caracters in different situtations.
Here there is deffinetely a link to what I do now. Initialy, I had taken the picture and afterwards I would focus on intersting poses and objects, then I would reproduce them to create a new image that is deffinetly very close to reality but is still a drawing. Reality would still matter to me even though I would reproduce it as a drawing; I would focus on my personal view of the image, how I conceive it and reproduce it. Looking into this idea I started realising that maybe it would add more to the image, if would start focusing more on the initial creation of the image; the photography part.
Thus, I started developing film pghotography skills. I chose film as at the time, the slow making image proses allowed me time to focus on elements that I would photograph rather than the quality of the picture or the amount of frames that I would produce.
Meanwhile, a lot of experiments faild to create something that I was interested in to develop.
Collages with minatures of pictures, collages with the drawings and collages on paintings was things that I desplayed on exhibitions and in my studio, however, they had a one time show-life as I could not find my style through them.
I find painting and sketching less interesting lately, so after some failing attempts I focused on developing more photography projects after that.
In one use camera photography there is no manual options, you point and shoot. Thus, it is very difficult to come out with a good outcome. I tried with 4-5 different films and cameras to come up with some good photos. My first time took very a very long period until I finished my film as I was paitient to find the best frame to capture, later I was more spontanous and quick up on what to take a picture of as my skill became better. This experience was my first film camera experience and here I have some good ones and bad ones to compare.
One use Fuji camera, well captured and developed pictures, Kimolos, 2019.
In the set of the three pictures I’ve selected some of my favorite ones. There are three elements that I take into account to consider one of my pictures successful. Firstly, like in the first one, movemet and action during a strange or a strong moment. Secondly, a well placed frame that contains an interesting image of reality like the porks in the second one. Lastly, an experimental portrait that is not in a normal position. As there are no manual options with one use cameras, I focused mainly on having an interesting colour outcome, contrast between elements it the pictures as well as expresive human forms.
In the next two pictures I find less interesting elements and I consider them as failed ones. The portrait one has a shalow context and as for the first one there is barely something visible. However, the first picture could be interesting in a consept of low developing light images that could form a series of vogue and strange outcomes.
One use Fuji camera, not so well captured and developed pictures, Kimolos, 2019.
Canon AE-1 Program camera:
With this camera the experience was completely different, the choice of a very good lence changed the quality of the outcome and I was able to focus on a smaller scope in the image. I presisely placed models and picked landscapes of artistic interest that reveal spots with very clear details. I believe that I did a huge progress with photography skills because of film camera photography as it is challenging and fussy.
Canon AE-1 Program Camera, two of my best colour film camera frames, 2019.
There is an evident progress in portrait capturing, there is an interest in the vogue shapes that the different colours create because of the adjastements I made with the camera, the movement of the different human forms and the modest breadth that is created by the 1,8 focus point adjustment. In the second image I’ve selected a landscape one that contains interestind aftrenoon light that I belive is very well captured and elements of both a city environent as well as a contrast with an exotic plant image. i I belive both the pictures managed to show some skills in photography.