As an artist I mainly create context-sensitive spatial installations and objects, that are informed by architecture, politics, art-historical references, the performative aspects of installation art and its social dynamics. The majority of my projects come into existence over a longer period of time, and always in relation to a particular site or context. In the course of my artistic career, I have increasingly become intrigued by the question of how past and present relate to and reinforce each other. In this context, I have especially been interested in capturing public memories in the making.
Duality is deeply embedded in my background (Greek living in the Netherlands) and it has been always a given that I have worked with and related it to the original promises of modernism and ‘the new’, the hope for better times, the consequences of international monetary policies, the question of value, the function of (public) space and the role of the artwork as a commodity object. I play with tensions between monumentality and ephemerality – very present in the Greek artistic heritage – and the theatricality of destruction, decay and violence, as well as its various symbolisms. The aesthetics and political function of (public) space is of particular interest to me.
In recent years, my work has gravitated toward reflections on the historical avant-garde, playfully re-activating the heritage of Russian formalism and Bauhaus to address contemporary social dynamics. I have adopted elements – shapes and forms – from modernist artworks, and relocated them in the context of contemporary protest movements and the aesthetic strategies they employ, and, in this way, turned the expressions of revolt into monuments. This is what I earlier referred to as ‘capturing public memories in the making’. Evocative aesthetic and contextual shifts mirror the current global climate of upheaval but also promote fragments from the public domain from the quotidian to the iconic. Relating contemporary protest movements to (art) history and its utopian promises adds an extra layer of reflection that allows us to rethink the relation between present and past. My research developed around questions, such as, does history repeat itself? And, if it does, how and in what form does it reappear? The latter is a question I was confronted with over and over again in my work and in my attempts to answer it I have had some success, but as always there are still some areas that remain unanswered.
Pittas (1973) has studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts, the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam and at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam and has been a artist-in-residence at the Bard College, Annandale, New York.
He had, amongst others, solo exhibitions at De Nederlandsche Bank, Amsterdam (2013), Hessel Museum of Art & CSS Bard Galleries, Annandale, New York (2012), Benaki Museum, Athens (2011), Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven (2011), the Central Museum, Utrech (2002). He has participated in several group shows including the Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki (2015), Bozar, Brussels (2014), Agora – 4th Athens Biennale, Athens (2013), Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam (2013), ‘Overlapping Biennial’ – the 5th edition Biennial, Bucharest (2012), Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2011),
Pittas also holds a position as a teacher at the Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam and has been a guest teacher at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine arts, Copenhagen and the Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam.