Quest of Query Scrolling Topographies
The exhibition Quest of Query: Scrolling Topographies is based on a productive dialogue that Athens-based contemporary artist Theodoros Zafeiropoulos and Budapest-based curator Eszter Szakács initiated in Norway during their residency programs in 2013. The exhibition presents a video and a series of 40 drawings about the USF Verftet building that has a particular significance in the history of the City of Bergen. This is also the place where Theodoros Zafeiropoulos had his studio and apartment during his participation in the AiR Bergen residency program. The artist examined the building in a specific way: he took 759 panoramic photographs of the building and combined them into a single video that surveys the panoramas in a circular, perpetual motion, creating the effect of a never-ending, closed labyrinth. The video is also reminiscent of Michel Foucault’s metaphor of the Panopticon and his theory of “disciplinary power.” Yet, the Scrolling Topographies video returns this panoptical gaze: in this case, the observed and the regulated are not the people, but the very structure of surveillance itself, as it is created out of “innocent” photographs of a particular Norwegian building.
For the series of drawings, the artist isolated and produced 40 short chapters of the panoramas in the video. On the back surface of thick rice paper he transferred the actual image using the UV printing procedure. On the front, visible surface he accentuated select inanimate objects and architectural details by overdrawing them with pencil, such as lampshades, stairways, or doorknobs. As a result, the series, with the combination of printing and drawing, appear to be hyperrealist paintings, highlighting also one of the distinctive working methodologies of the artist as well as the Quest of Query project. Zafeiropoulos—by fictionalizing and re-shaping reality—deprives the observed of its particular (geographical) site and meaning. He reorganizes them on the level of metaphors and contingency, so that through this, as well as with reality-grounded, hypothetical queries, he could problematize certain phenomena of current socio-political mechanisms.
Quest of Query as a project consists of several chapters, exhibited on several occasions, at different venues; the individual exhibitions are differentiated by their subtitles. The first two chapters are presented in Budapest: besides Quest of Query: Scrolling Topographies at the Erika Deák Gallery, the other chapter entitled Quest of Query: The Menace of the Obvious is on view form June 7 to June 27, 2014 at the contemporary art organization tranzit.hu