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Young Predictions

Amidst all the graduation shows and takeovers in Stockholm at the moment, Cypriot-born Polys Peslikas' ongoing solo show Young Predictions at Mint konsthall might not make the most buzz, but should not be missed. Our editor Koshik Zaman saw the show a while ago and was thrown back in time to the pre-Internet days of cutting out titilating images and hiding them inside books.



C-P: First of all, congrats on a beautiful show (Young Predicitions) at mint. I found it very moving, and as a gay man, very relatable. Tell me a little about the exhibition process; how did you work with the curator, Emily Fahlén?

 

P.P: Emily had seen my two exhibitions in Athens during the summer of 2023, the one at ARCH focusing on paintings, watercolors and a small selection from the printed material and the second one at Radio Athènes with photos from 1993 and a group of photobooks from 2007. It was followed by a meeting during a the time of group show at Felix Gaudlitz in Vienna. Emily came back with a proposal for an exhibition at mint that as a starting point would present a selection of my early collages on bank statement dating back 1993-96.

 

So the form of the exhibition was shaped around those early pieces. In the process, a digitalized installation of the printed material from the 90’s was added and a selection of five paintings from the last four years. Works on paper, drawings and ink washes were added and finalized the exhibition. The exhibition, as per usual, took form in the space during the installation as it’s part of my working practice. 

 

C-P: While the paintings are absolutely stunning (I’m a big fan of figurative painting) – so intimate, both in motif and format - I was very drawn to the cutouts and collages. For me it evokes a time pre-Internet or the very early days of it; cutting out images for whatever reason and keeping them in folders, sometimes hidden.

 

P.P: There is an analogue approach to the collages. The images have that pre-internet aesthetics and there’s a raw approach to the cutting of the printed images. They carry an immediacy and a familiarity stemming from our everyday visual culture. Obviously things changed with the emergence of Photoshop and Google and I eventually lost interest in making them. 


The paintings are more reserved and intimate. Having them side by side with the collages, their presence in the exhibition space change and their understanding is filtered through the other mediums; collages, the video installation and the works on paper . For sure I am interested, when this dynamic happens.



C-P: A very funny coincidence is that one of my best friends, Maria-Corina Wahlin, was one of your painting students back in Limassol, Cyprus. In fact, Corina intended on interviewing your for C-print back in 2017 but sadly the interview never saw daylight so I’m picking up the threads. I’ve spent some time in Greece but sadly have never been to Cyprus. What was it like growing up on Cyprus?

 

P.P: Cyprus is the place to go where I put myself and my thoughts together. Me and all my references make sense when I am there. Through the years, I have gathered experiences from teaching, curating or just trying to make things happen by moving myself in different fields and directions. A small and remote geographic location, an island, makes you change perceptions very often and fast to how you see the creative process or life itself.

 

C-P: You notably represented Cyprus at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017. What was that experience like? I was there that year but sadly must have missed your pavilion.

 

P.P: It was a fast, compact and intense experience but not really very interesting for me. Everything happened in an exaggerated degree in a small location and in a very short period of time. Looking back, I would say I kept Venice as a place where I deconstructed a lot of ideas I had about the art scene and once it was over, it gave me clarity on how I wanted to work from that moment on. 



C-P: You work across several disciplines in your artistic practice, ranging from video and performance, but it seems like your work as of late gravitates towards painting?

 

P.P: I think everything was happening at the same time for so many years. Every now and then some material or medium comes up to the surface more often and with a different dynamic. These last years painting is more present and somewhat discreet in scale but more specific in its references and its representation. All the other mediums find their place on the side because they are interconnected. I'm interested in a way of working that finds a balance between all those practices. Something that allows me to carry elements from one to the other in an almost effortless way that doesn’t even leave me wondering how things happened. 

 

C-P: Also, feel free to share some words on your life in London where you’ve been based for a few years?

What prompted you to move there?

 

P.P: Life took me to London after many years in Cyprus and some years in Berlin. It’s a complex place and still holds some of those interesting elements that characterize major metropolitan cities. I believe it’s one of the few big cities where identity and individuality is always questioned, and this constantly changes the parameters of creativity.



C-P: Lastly, what is coming up for you later in the year?

 

P.P: For now, I am working on the making of a painting catalogue with works from the last four years which will be heavy on text. Back in Cyprus,  I am working on a record cover for a performer friend,

Panayiotis Mina. There’s plenty more to come after summer but in the meantime, I need to reorganize the studio and go back to work mode.

 


All images courtesy of the artist.

Polys Peslikas – Young Predictions, mint konsthall, Stockholm, 11.4–15.6 2024

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