Kostis Velonis (born 1968; lives and works in Athens, Greece).

Mixed media installation.

“The stage-like element in his works is given direct expression in the sculpture Gaining Socialism while Losing your Wife. It goes back to Lyubov Popova’s stage set for the 1921 play ‘Le Cocu magnifique’ by the Belgian playwright Fernand Crommelynck, in which the husband has doubts about the faithfulness of his wife Stella. Raging with inward doubts, he calls on her to betray him scientifically to give him a sense of security. His wife—in desperate love for her husband—goes along with his wishes. But Bruno thereupon offers her to all the men in the town. Having lost hope, she deserts him for a new lover and in the end Bruno is left behind in solitude. The pathological jealousy of the main character stands for the decay of the revolution through the weakness of human nature. Velonis transfers the stage set to the exhibition hall, thus taking it out of its real context. The geometric form of the set contrasts with the private interior that intrudes at certain places in the form of flower pots, ornaments, a yellow curtain, or romantic novels. While Popova’s design recalls the cool and efficient worker’s dwelling, the intrusive objects introduce a sentimental and decorative element, calling in question the radical aesthetics of Constructivism.”
—Press release, “How One Can Think Freely in the Shadow of a Temple,” Kunsteverein Hamburg website.

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