I grew up in a ceramics studio, working alongside my father, whose creations were influenced by his observations of nature. But it wasn’t until I entered the University of Fine Arts in Athens, after having studied classical marble sculpture at the School of Fine Arts on the Greek island of Tinos, that I myself turned to nature as a source of ideas for my work. It was here that I began to create my own organic forms.
I draw elements from the natural environment (plants, cocoons, fruits, living organs, etc.) as well as from industrial material and residues of the contemporary world. From a variety of angles, I observe, conceive, and fabricate biomorphic forms. Although I study the natural environment, I avoid naturalistic depictions, seeking instead to grant my forms a new substance, an entirely new identity.
Through my work I attempt to express the agony and restlessness I feel regarding the genetic mutations that organisms undergo in order to adapt to constant technological changes in our environment (my concerns include genetic pollution, genetically modified organisms, and artificially mutant products). As critic Anthi Argyriou put it, my work is concerned with “foreshadowing mutations of organisms in a dystopian post-industrial era.”
Drawing is almost always my starting point. When I move to other media, I do not limit myself to what I’ve drawn, however. Instead, I let the particularities of my new medium guide me to new forms. My older works, each labeled “Mutation” in the gallery below, contain materials such as colored package paper as well as cheap recycled materials, including plastic, rubber, cartons, and newspapers. My recent work, each labeled “Finding,” is made solely of white clay. This natural white matter, flexible and yet fragile, allows me much freedom.
I hope my work challenges viewers to decode my complex forms through their own personal and subjective prisms, and prompts them to be conscious of their choices and responsibilities. It is in such a manner that viewers are better able to decode the “micro” or “mega” worlds that surround and besiege them, the Greek critic Athina Schina remarked.
My home is in Serres, a small city of around 100,000 inhabitants in northern Greece, where I’ve lived since I was six. My studio is in my yard, allowing me to share my life between sculpting and my wife and our two children. Having my studio next to where I live is essential to me—a normal flow of living that continues in the tradition of how I grew up.
About the Artist
Aris Katsilakis was born in 1974 in Klutz-Rumania, where his parents were expatriated, and in 1980 was repatriated along with his family to Greece, where he lives and works today. He studied marble sculpting at the School of Fine Arts on the Greek island of Tinos and continued his studies at the University of Fine Arts in Athens.
He has taught sculpture at the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Western Macedonia, and currently teaches in the Technological Educational Institute of Central Macedonia.
His works have appeared in solo exhibitions at Kalos & Klio Showroom, in Thessaloniki; Gallery Kaplanon 5, in Athens; and House Papavasileiou, in Serres; as well as in numerous group exhibitions, and they are located in private collections and public spaces worldwide.
Find more of Aris’s work at www.ariskatsilakis.gr.
ARTerrain Gallery | Biomorphic Forms
By Aris Katsilakis
Images in this gallery may not be copied or otherwise used without express written consent of the artist. Click image to view in larger size or to begin slideshow:
Header image: “Finding” by Aris Katsilakis.