GE­ORGE TIL­LIANAKIS

Artist Profile - - PROFILE -

“A WIND IS SWEEP­ING AWAY MY LIFE. I close my eyes so I don’t see you leave. Some­where night is falling, don’t cry, it’s OK. Just say it’s the end of the world.” I sing these words from Some­where Night is Falling in ‘Lo-Fi Au­di­tions’ (2003), the fi­nal in­stal­ment of my five-part video per­for­mance se­ries, Dis­tilled Dis­tor­tion.

In a dark space, a close-up of my blue­painted face evokes the Greek flag. I sing the Greek blues – the Rem­betika – a capella. When the singing breaks, the si­lence is filled with my hys­ter­i­cal cry­ing and the feed­back of a dis­torted elec­tric gui­tar. Be­hind me a tele­vi­sion plays an au­di­tion tape of my­self at 16, my face ob­scured by acne. The sound is turned down. I am only my de­spair and my hu­mil­i­a­tion cov­ered up.

In Black Sun: De­pres­sion and Me­lan­cho­lia, Ju­lia Kris­teva sug­gests that “nam­ing suf­fer­ing, ex­alt­ing it, dis­sect­ing it into its small­est com­po­nents, that is doubt­less a way to curb mourn­ing. To revel in it at times, but also to go be­yond it, mov­ing on to an­other form, not so scorch­ing, more and more per­func­tory.” My face is torn of in­di­vid­ual iden­tity, cov­ered in a cal­cu­lated mess of cul­tural and sub­cul­tural ref­er­ences, my mouth ex­press­ing what my heart and mind needs to dis­cern for the pur­pose of mov­ing for­ward. It is this cathar­sis that pro­pels me to create my work.

The five parts of Dis­tilled Dis­tor­tion were also ex­hib­ited in my solo show at Artspace, Cur­tains: The Ex­ca­va­tion Process (2005). Dur­ing the four-week ex­hi­bi­tion, I per­formed bi-weekly along­side the video in­stal­la­tion. The per­for­mances were an ex­ten­sion of the videos: my en­tire body and face smeared in black paint sym­bol­is­ing a worn-away abyss, di­vulging per­sonal sto­ries and se­crets in an at­tempt to dis­pel trauma with my elec­tric gui­tar strapped to my body as if it were a weapon for pro­tec­tion.

The per­for­mances were phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally painful: ac­ci­den­tally rip­ping my stom­ach open from the bro­ken metal of an old rusted paint­brush, dis­cussing sex­u­al­ity and sex­ual abuse, get­ting black paint in my eyes, shar­ing per­sonal family tragedies, an­ni­hi­lat­ing Artspace by throw­ing buck­ets of wa­ter all over the space and then ly­ing in the dirt singing Greek songs in rav­aged un­der­wear. Plac­ing my­self in these phys­i­cally painful and hu­mil­i­at­ing sce­nar­ios al­lowed me to ac­cess and ex­pose in­ter­nal griev­ances.

For the next seven years I painted my body in var­i­ous colours, per­form­ing through­out

View­ers are pro­vided no lyri­cal cues as to what wounds the trav­el­ling sub­jects. These face­less char­ac­ters are abject: the bot­tom of a gut­ter, an aban­doned and sy­ringe-rid­den house.

sub­ur­ban and ur­ban cities to ex­haust my body (to the point of tran­scen­dence), in or­der to ac­cess the psy­che and ex­e­cute hid­den pain.

In ‘Back In Black: Di­a­mond In The Rough (Fucker)’ (2007), the fourth in­stal­ment from my solo show at the Black­town Arts Cen­tre, painted flu­o­res­cent pink, I am bare­foot, wear­ing an or­ange bee­hive wig and sag­ging women’s un­der­wear as the cam­era fol­lows me through the streets of Black­town.

In ‘Black’ (2012), I take to the streets of New York City, bare­foot, smeared in black paint, wear­ing a black hel­met and black-se­quined, high-waisted un­der­wear. Un­like pre­vi­ous works where the mu­si­cal wall of sound was a cru­cial el­e­ment of the ex­pe­ri­ence, the travellers in these two works are stripped of a voice. Mute.

View­ers are pro­vided no lyri­cal cues as to what wounds the trav­el­ling sub­jects. These face­less char­ac­ters are abject: the bot­tom of a gut­ter, an aban­doned and sy­ringe-rid­den house, sym­bol­is­ing not only sub­jec­tive but univer­sal, pain, loss and hu­mil­i­a­tion.

The al­bum Cry, Fuck Or Fight (2016), un­der the artist name Melodiqa, is a re­turn to the elec­tronic syn­the­siser mu­sic of the Back In Black video works. The black cover, with a faint hint of the ti­tle in a lighter shade of black, once again in­vokes the abyss.

Like the char­ac­ters in re­cent video works, the mu­sic and lyrics take you on a jour­ney. In­spired by numer­ous syn­the­siser sound­tracks of the 70s and 80s, I fuse this sound with per­sonal lyrics of sex, loss and aban­don­ment. The song ‘Tzigano’ best en­cap­su­lates these themes, yet con­cludes with a sur­pris­ing, en­light­ened twist that was ab­sent in my pre­vi­ous work, per­haps re­flect­ing who I am at the mo­ment. And for all the times the door closed in my face, I turned around and no­ticed a space. I could fill it with love or fill it with hate … I’ll keep on mov­ing … time will not wait. @chain­sawmelody MELODIQA is avail­able for down­load on iTUNES 04 MELODIQA per­form­ing at the Ox­ford Art Fac­tory,

Syd­ney 2016, courtesy of Ox­ford Art Fac­tory 05 DIS­TILLED DIS­TOR­TION: Lo-Fi Au­di­tions, 2003, video still 06 BLACK, 2012, video still

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