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Seal of nature

Manolis Baboussis has developed a multifaceted work that is not limited to the visual arts. In 1973, he proposed for his dissertation in architecture, a study on démolition of a psychiatric hospital instead of the erection of a new building.  His work explores issues relating to the themes of institutions, memory, incarceration, the environment, accumulation, confinement and loss. The artist, through photography, installations, poetry and drawings, finds the necessary conceptual space to produce an art that meets the needs of a direct or indirect political and social position. His long-term collaboration with Jannis Kounellis has also produced an important body of work.


Baboussis’ objects and actions function metonymically within the artist’s aesthetic space, while their interpretation is determined by the intentions and allusions conceptually defined through the position-contrast-composition scheme. Hence the viewer easily notices the artist’s interest and love for nature, architectural eurhythmy and human relationships. In his photographic series entitled “Skeletons”, first presented at the Benaki Museum in 2010, Baboussis in a caustic way “exhibits” one of the timeless pathogens of Greek culture: unfinished skeletons of buildings, inorganic witnesses of a perpetual violent threat, of a crude and destructive human intervention in the environment. These remnants of human arbitrariness, which enslave the organic balance of the austere natural landscape, reveal on the one hand the social apathy towards this catastrophe and on the other hand the necessity to create a new organic architecture. The balance between man and nature does not concern only the obvious issue of restoring harmony, but also formulates a new framework through which the whole world can be reconstructed. Paradigmatic for this framework is Baboussis' Untitled work (2017), where a stone takes the place of the seal on the inkpad. The artist replaces the validity of an old, precious and classic symbol of power and identification with the reliability, anonymity and authenticity of nature. This seal of nature symbolically redefines the content of every aspect of social, political and economic life, definitively reconciling the relationship of man-made with the natural environment.


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