Anargyros Drolapas: Void Relics
Anargyros Drolapas is a self-taught Greek photographer living in Athens, Greece. He studied Physics and IT (University of Athens). He has steadily pursued photography since 2010 and has contributed in various magazines and group exhibitions
This project is titled Void Relics, it is located in Rome and it's about the impressions of a traveller about a city that is covered under the heavy veil of history. A topology mixed with recent historical events and with echoes from the past that demand to remain active in the present.
Void relics, void eyes (of eagles) that remain always in a prolonged surprise and admiration. In that environment there are still hidden aspirations of memories that should have been forgotten forever. All these could have been happening to any historic city, but are happening in an “eternal city”.
Tell us more about yourself and your practice.
Hello from Athens, Greece. I’m a self taught photographer with a physicist’s background. My experience from lab experimentation affected the way I was photographing for a long time. Having always managing to stay unnoticed and avoiding to interfere with my subject I hoped in capturing a glimpse of everyday life without the presence of the photographer. But that is not mandatory for me anymore.
What was your creative process for this series or for your work in general?
As always when I’m visiting a new place I'm keen on walking for hours. Exploring, trying to experience a small part of the unknown. Same thing happened with Rome (which is the city presented in the current project Void Relics). It was quite obvious for me from the beginning that there was a specific atmosphere and a subjective narration that had been building in a profound way in front of me the days I stayed in Rome. So, after a while I was just looking for signs that could enrich my personal narration of the city, and that specific atmosphere I was experiencing.
What work inspires or has inspired you?
I was inspired by William Eggleston because he started the war with the obvious and built the Democratic Forest. By Wolfgang Tillmans and Federico Clavarino because I admire the ways they choose to narrate their stories and for the quality of their photography. And by Nikos Markou for revealing me the "Garden of Possibilities" regarding the editing of photography.
Are there any artistic movements you enjoy in particular and why?
“This is not an interview”
Surrealism is the answer to that question because of the way surrealists chose to always experiment with imagination and because they changed art history forever.
Do you have any opinions or ideals underlying your art?
Usually the photos I select are either depicting various layers of emotions in one frame or are managing to stay open to multiple interpretations. After some time as a photographer I realized that a single photo can’t inspire a fruitful story the way a series of photos can. A sequence of photos serve as little dots were the viewer is responsible to connect the dots and draw the big picture. I'm satisfied if the big picture is not predictable from the beginning. And finally if you want to make a comment about the political and social situation in our society the comment doesn't have to be obvious and written in words. Photos can trigger the same reactions as articles in newspapers, but in a more subconscious level.
Tell us more about Void Relics and the topology of a popular historical landmark?
Probably every person that visits Rome collects different experiences. Speaking for myself, coming from a historical city (Athens) that is also full of ancient monuments and churches, allowed me to focus on the similarities and the differences of those cities. For example I noticed that there seemed to be a “come to terms” situation with symbols of specific past political parties that in Greece usually remain hidden, hoping for lethe. Starting from that point and continuing to the vast religious tourism in Rome, inside me was created the feeling of void. Without wanting to lose the ephemeral eye of a visitor of the city I wanted to create narration of a city that seemed somehow lost between ancient and modern civilization. Without using any famous landmarks, I created the topography of any historical city that produce the same impression to a visitor.
How would you like to see the work progress? Within which context of art publishing would this series culminate?
While I focus on online publishing of my projects now the challenge of an exhibition or of a photo book is always there. It ain’t easy to find a publisher that will share the same vision with you, but the ideas for possible dummies are neverending for me. At the same time I’m experimenting on new ways of editing and of presentation for an exhibition and I’m open to any creative proposal.
Any words for aspiring artists?
I guess we are all influenced by various art movements and artists, we cannot avoid that. But by trying to work outside of our comfort zones we give a chance for something new and fresh to be born. Be open and walk a lot.
"Experimentation with comfortable shoes" might be a good moto.
Is there anything you’re currently working on?
Yes, is a project about depression and melancholia entitled Lernaean Hydra. The name of the project is taken from an ancient Greek mythological monster that is also related to a psychological term. Lernaean Hydra was a gigantic, nine-headed water-serpent, a chthonic creature. It is associated with the underworld, and therefore symbolic with the subconscious. Hydra appears to be the shadow, or the ugly side of the ego which the individual does not accept as themselves and tries so hard to suppress. Hercules attempted to kill it by cutting the heads from the Hydra with the result being that multiple heads regrowned from each severed neck. In a symbolic way in that mythological story we can recognize the struggle of someone who tries to destroy the shadow instead of assimilating it. From a psychological standpoint, you cannot destroy the shadow caused by anger, rejection and frustration, you cannot remove the negative. Instead, the individual has to accept these features of the psyche and bring them under his own control. In that project I’m experimenting with staged portraits from a close distance while focusing in details. Monstrous details (joke).