With playfulness, naivism and surrealism, Greek artist Jannis Varelas creates artworks that tell us about ourselves and our time. His themes are often based on socially induced phenomena and he questions societal norms. In the exhibition 'Our House', Varelas explores typology, its psychological classification and how our minds are constructed by personal experiences. The large-scale paintings crackle with energy and expressiveness and are saturated with information and color. Varelas uses various techniques and materials: oils, oil pastels, pastels, markers, acrylic paint and collage, with halftone screens and squares of color, placed sporadically across the canvas. At first glance, it looks arbitrary, but everything is placed with careful consideration.
Varelas also uses literature as a starting point for his work, where the narrative provides a structure for the creative process. The video installation 'Aunt Clara’s Place' refers to a dream that Allen Ginsberg describe in his diary from 1944. Varelas explores our emotions and our understanding of the familiar in diverse everyday activities. He investigates the connotations between a well-known setting compared to an unknown, dreamlike place. An oversized fabric sculpture, a rigid scaffolding, and everyday objects, enhance the conception of surrealism in the installation. Connecting all of the works in the exhibition is the experience of what we see – how we react is the essential and the existential, and a part of the exhibition.
Jannis Varelas (b. 1977) studied at the Royal College of Art, London and at the Athens School of Fine Arts, Athens. Varelas has been shown in solo exhibitions in Europe and the US, and participated in group shows at Palais de Tokyo, Paris, Kunsthalle Athena, Athens, and Kunsthalle, Vienna. His work is represented in private collections and institutions such as the Saatchi Collection, London, the Dakis Joannou Collection, Athens and the Hort Family Collection, New York. He lives and works in Los Angeles, Vienna, and Athens.