Encounters Diane Neumaier and Christos Chrissopoulos
ENCOUNTERS is structured around a fictional character and the real Icelandic cultural environment. He exemplifies the notion of the flaneur, the wanderer, the city man. He lives both in himself and in the public sphere, walking endlessly around the city of Reykjavík. He has casual, short exchanges with people he meets. He diligently observes his city, has become part of the city itself.
He is particular to the Reykjavík area, but at the same time he is universal. To some, he personifies the Icelandic character. He illuminates the human condition from an Icelandic angle. The project ENCOUNTERS does not claim to understand the Icelandic experience in its totality. But as artists and as foreigners who lived in Iceland for a short time, we seek to share our perceptions and observations and to initiate interaction with the audience. To this end we hope that ENCOUNTERS will prove to be both familiar and provocative.
ENCOUNTERS is comprised of three elements:
- photographs of public sculptures on display throughout and around Reykjavík, vertical views of plentiful official artworks intended to be uplifting manifestations of deliberate artistic interventions; these represent abstract cultural markers in the public sphere, parts of the city's landscape, history, image and everyday life.
- photographs of lost gloves that appear in multitudes during the summer throughout Reykjavík, horizontal views of castaways on the ground, manifestations of the city's private life and an effort to nurture life; these are accidental, discarded, worthless parts of the city's unconsciousness.
-fictional texts about the character's limited exchanges with people on the street, where he asks and seeks answers, is formed by the people around him, internalizes popular wisdom and becomes a mirror of his own folk.
The artists that have created ENCOUNTERS are:
Diane Neumaier, an artist whose conceptually based photography has been exhibited internationally. Her many bodies of work include Metropolitan Tits, Museum Studies, and Color Plates. In 2003, Neumaier's exhibition A VOICE SILENCED will be presented by the Tyler Museum of Art at the State University of New York at Oswego and by the Frankfurt Stadt Jewish Museum in Frankfurt, Germany. Neumaier works extensively in East Europe and was a Fulbright Fellow in Moscow in 1994. She is the editor of the forthcoming anthology BEYOND MEMORY: Photo-related Nonconformist Works of Art from the Soviet Union, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, 2004. Neumaier is the editor of Reframings: New American Feminist Photographies, Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1996, the editor of the Art Journal Contemporary Russian Art Photography, CAA, New York, 1994.
- Diane Neumaier is Professor of Photography at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.
Christos Chrissopoulos, who was born in Athens in December 1968. He studied Economics in Athens, Psychology in Bristol, and Social Sciences in London. He first appeared in letters in 1996 with the Novella The Parthenon Bomber. After that followed the books: Napoleon Delasto's Recipes (1997), Shunyata (1999), The Manicurist (2000) and Encircled World (2001).
Since 1999 he has collaborated with Diane Neumaier on a few artistic projects, and in 2002, their artist book The Black Dress was published in the USA by RCIPP.
Chris has been featured in many anthologies of contemporary Greek fiction and writes regularly on literary theory for the journal Diavazo. He translates from English and also writes criticism for Athenian newspapers and magazines. Chris has won a number of grants and has been invited to writer's centers in Sweden, Czech Republic, Russia, Scotland, the USA and Iceland (where, together with Diane Neumaier, completed the project Encounters).
- His forthcoming novel Theatre of voices, will come out in Greece later in the year 2003.