Artist Spotlight: Vasilis Asimakopoulos
Vasilis Asimakopoulos is a Greek artist whose practice explores challenging concepts through the reinterpretation of every day and mass-produced objects. He examines how remnants of the past are ever-present in our space through visual indications.
The environment we occupy holds echoes of bygone experiences that manifest physically and spectrally. A room or space expresses its own history through abandoned marks and remains. Asimakopoulos sees these post-event landscapes as holding possibilities of oscillating realities. The past, present and future simultaneously participate in his work.
Vasilis Asimakopoulos, Overworked 2, 2017. Oil and resin on canvas
Asimakopoulos will often respond directly to the gallery’s architecture. He creates installation works that coalesce to create a singular environment. The artist’s sculptural pieces take the form of universally familiar objects, such as clothing and furniture. He then alters or remakes them, subtly shifting the viewer’s perception of these items. This calls into question the accepted associations of them. This then draws attention to the present environment in which the audience exists, leading them to reflect on their own sense of time and space.
These concepts are explored throughout Asimakopoulos’ solo exhibition, ‘Phantoms’, which was held in February and March at the William Benington Gallery, London. The exhibition was arranged in the form of an installation which mimicked the environment of a vacant waiting room.
The series, Shell I, II, III, resemble mass-produced plastic office chairs and were placed in the centre of the room. The artist chose to remake these out of concrete, canvas and steel causing them to sag and crumple. A denim jacket (Hide VIII) hung on the wall is made solid through the use of resin and marble dust. These sculptures, stripped of their functionality, became visual indications of a space once occupied, now left desolate and silent.
Vasilis Asimakopoulos, Phantoms. Installation view, 2018.
Large surface studies titled, Echo Negative I & II, were also installed on the walls. They have been built up using layers of marble dust to produce planes of white on white. Alongside these was the dark, weathered piece, Overworked III, which is made from oil and resin.
Bursts of orange accent the exhibition in the form of “wall paintings” created using site-specific coloured flares and smoke grenades. These pieces act as scars or phantom remains giving proof that a time before this once existed. The fine particles of dust that pervaded the show, conjure up sentiments of detritus and a forgotten history. The contents of the room, simultaneously familiar and distant, make for an unsettling experience that departs from our accustomed reality.
Born in Athens, 1982, Vasilis Asimakopoulos graduated with an MA in sculpture from the Royal College of Art. He was the winner of the Mostyn Open Award in 2011 and was awarded the RBS Bursary award by the Royal British Society of Sculptors in 2009. He has exhibited internationally with exhibitions in London, Paris and Barcelona. Recent exhibitions include Phantoms, at William Bennington Gallery, London (2018), Norwegian Concrete, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester (2016), In Place of a Trophy, Beers Contemporary, London (2014).
Cover image: Vasilis Asimakopoulos, Overworked 3, 2017. Oil and resin on canvas
Author: Sara Lavelle