My first artistic recollections date from my early childhood in Alexandria. One summer afternoon, I was put in a bedroom for a nap. That room was very dark. Suddenly through a little hole on the wooden window-shutter, filtered light cast scenes from the street below. The scenes were projected in reverse on the ceiling! It seemed as if trying to capture an elusive spirit.
That became my first encounter with the Camera Obscura which led me in later years to my obsession with the moving image.
I am always trying to turn my mind into a camera obscura, due to interpret exclusively my personal reality.
Violence in politics and everyday life is the subject that occupies my mind most. For many years I have been collecting newspaper clippings of articles dealing with crimes and violent political acts. I call that gesture "appropriation art," meaning works that lifted images from Art History and popular culture in order to make a comment. But by the time those images reach my studio, the information is no longer current to the point that the depicted violence loses its vitality, in other words it acquires a certain distance from its object.
Sometimes one such (re)discovered image shocks me because it reminds me- through some tug of my memory- of something which seems strangely familiar. So I reconstruct the appropriated image in my computer and give it a title usually depicted from subjects dealing with earlier periods of Art History, mainly the Renaissance, in order to help the viewer share my experience. I very often borrow the titles from movies that have made an impression on me. The digital manipulation of the image -whether it derives from images appropriated from the daily press, my own digital photographs or scenes videotaped from the newsreel- is the weapon I use in order to eliminate, so to speak, the reality that surrounds me and reconstruct a personal reality, sarcastic, biting but never the less filled with the fears and desires that take hold of me. My persistent preoccupation over the years with political and social issues which deal with violence usually become the motive which ignites my inspiration and therefore my implication with long-term art projects in which I believe synchronicity is of primary importance.
The underlying philosophy of my work is based on the following principles:
- Presence / Loss
- Memory / Re-setting History
Alteration of reality. My intention is often to reveal the lies of the seductively produced images masterfully presented by the media to deceptively obscure reality.
My background in advertising as a graphic designer for a ten-year-period in my youth taught me a personal way of perceiving the so-called reality. Central to this issue is the problem of how we are controlled by the structures of the visual information systems that pre-package images, editing and manipulating before we are allowed access to them in the mass media.