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Theodoros Zafeiropoulos

Quest of Query is the title of an art project that emerged from the partnership between scholar Theodoros Zafeiropoulos and Hungarian curator Eszter Szakács. The two opened dialogue in Bergen, Norway, which not only marked the start of the project but helped in creating a ‘productive bridge’ connecting Norway, Greece and Hungary. In 2013 the artist and curator were both on residencies in two different institutions in Bergen. Zafeiropoulos was on the AiR Bergen residency run by the USF Vertfel Centre for the Arts and Culture. Szakács was at the Hordaland Kunstsenter, a centre for modern art.

The project consists of numerous chapters, each of which will be presented in a different place at a different time in the form of solo exhibitions that differ only in relation to sub-headings given to each exhibition. The first two chapters were presented in Budapest. Chapter one, entitled Quest of Query: The Menace of the Obvious, was presented at the Foundation from 7 to 27 June 2014.

The videos presented in the exhibition were recorded in Bergen, Norway. However, the concept of locality is not associated with any specific location in the Quest of Query series. The interpretation of what is ‘national territory’, in real and conceptual terms, emerges from what is a heterogeneous narrative: it is a symbol of ‘eu-topia’, a metaphor for a ‘non place’ used only as an observatory or place of inspection. Even though the Quest appears to relate to three different countries, it is, in fact, not an Odyssey across physical space and time, but instead launches a perpetual spiritual and intellectual journey to decode socio-political issues. The words ‘quest’ and ‘query’ share common etymological roots, since both come from the Latin word ‘quaerere’ (to seek out, to search for). These are two concepts that comprise the quest for a query that is constantly on the move.

The video installation presented at summarises the initial idea that ‘the landscape isn’t innocent’, focusing on a metaphorical reading of places, people and events. Certain latent socio-political components emerge through a careful examination of the apparent details of natural and urban landscapes. A national parade, a series of flags, a boat in the harbour, the harmless course of events, are converted into disturbing snapshots. The artist intervenes in an invisible web of dominant mechanisms, making ambiguous comments through documentation and detailed work.

Chapter two, entitled Quest of Query: Scrolling Topographies, will be exhibited at Gallery Deák Erika in Budapest, from 13 June to 26 July 2014. This exhibition presents a video and a series of 40 drawings – exhibits from the building of the USF Cultural Centre, which holds particular historical significance for the town of Bergen. The artist took 759 panoramic photos of the building and compiled them into one video that follows a spatial sequence through cyclical, perpetual motion creating the impression of never-ending space, an enclosed labyrinth. The video conveys Michel Foucault’s Panopticism theory according to which the observer’s glance is examined as ‘disciplinary power’. In this case, the spatial layout observed and how it is arranged is not the people involved but the very structure of surveillance itself, created through ‘innocent’ photographs of a specific Norwegian building.

The two exhibitions received support from the European Cultural Foundation and the Embassy of Greece in Hungary. Bilingual catalogues were published as part of the exhibitions with texts by Eszter Szakács, Sotirios Bahtsetzis, Marton Pacsika and Apostolos Artinos. The next chapters in the project, which is currently underway, are expected to be presented in Thessaloniki and Athens in 2015.