DRUMROLL BUT NO PUNCHLINE
Akis Karanos’ show Drumroll but no punchline is his first solo show in The Eye Altering gallery. Focusing his awareness not only on the contents but mainly on the modus operandi as strategy lies at the heart of his artistic practice, Karanos can restlessly wander around having the audacity to use any technique or medium that serves his purpose.
As a member of a generation of emerging visual artists who chooses to reimagine pop imagery anew, Karanos actively mocks his subject matters, offering neither a parody nor a critique but an opportunity to perceive them for what they are: expressions of the capitalist aesthetics & hegemony. Cartoon characters, religious symbols, pop heroes, sexual innuendoes, mythical creatures and sexually explicit moments are tangled together and create paradoxical narrations. These paradoxes include both sides, are the opposite of exclusion, and reveal to us what we have learnt to overlook or exclude: the mental forms, the aesthetics, the ideas.
Among other works, Karanos presents a series of sloppy airbrush drawings inspired by the graffiti tradition and its vandalizing character. The artist borrows the blurriness of the medium, the provocative images and the vulgar expressions of street art but mainly borrows graffiti’s most salient characteristic: crime. Graffiti is considered a transgression deriving from the lack of permission to use the public space and is widely perceived as vandalism. In Karanos’ case, illegality and vandalism stem from the introduction of ambiguous messages that disturb the status quo. Following his consistent strategy of dismantling and reassembling without taking into account neither the societal stereotypes nor the artistic ones, his works aim to convey the naked truth or even better to shout “the king is naked!” as a bugle call of a rebellion.
Bio. Akis Karanos (b.1980) lives and works in Athens, Greece. He studied Art at the Ecole des Beaux Arts de St. Etienne, France and has exhibited extensively in Greece but also in the USA, France, Portugal, Netherlands, Germany. Among others, his artworks have been presented at the Metropolitan Organisation of Museums of Visual Arts of Thessaloniki (MOMus), Thessaloniki Biennale 5, the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Florence, the 17th Biennial of Young Artists from Europe and Mediterranean (BJCEM), and at the French Institute of Thessaloniki.