Athens

Theodoros

Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center

In 1963 Theodoros appropriated Marcel Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel, 1913, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the readymade and paying homage to Duchamp. He incorporated it into a sculpture entitled Insect Perdu à la Roue de Bicyclette (Lost insect with bicycle wheel, 1963), which was attached to the wheel and suspended in midair. The inverted wheel—no longer a readymade—became the base or pedestal of a sculpture.

In this show, Theodoros once again turned to the bicycle wheel, as well as to other objects used in his earlier works. Set in this new context, the objects and signs did not change meaning; rather, they became part of his repeated artistic vocabulary, used here to structure his oeuvre.

The main body of this exhibition was comprised of the two sculptures Environment—Balance A and B, 1990. These were scaled-down pieces, in which the bicycle wheel was reduced in size. The wheel is the base from which the work evolves toward the floor, and its implications are twofold: firstly, it contains a reference to man’s natural vertical or upright stasis in relation to the laws of gravity; secondly, it involves the complete reversal of conventional sculpture since, with the pedestal in the air, the sculpture is turned upside-down. So Theodoros annuls the role of the pedestal as that device which severs artistic from natural space.

“Balance,” as he titled the show, is played out by means of the relationship of the objects to one another; of the environment to the space; and of the spectator to the work. The equilibrium between viewer and work is established by means of the invisible but obvious vertical axis that invokes a total physical response. Whimsically ironic in a post-Minimal and post-Conceptual context, Theodoros’ work redefines concepts of traditional sculpture. The beautifully crafted and perfectly finished handmade objects are conscious anachronistic declarations about the uniqueness and preciousness of the art object. Having paid homage to Duchamp by means of appropriation, Theodoros comes full circle and places himself at the diametrically opposite pole by reasserting yet another anachronism, that of the artist as homo faber.

Catherine Cafopoulos