„The path to awareness might be to not suppress ones own unconscious, to let history (..) be lived through by ones own unconscious, so that the awareness of history finally occurs through an experience of ones own unconscious“. (Theweleit, Klaus (1977): Male Fantasies, Volume 1: Women, Floods, Bodies, History)
Vassiliea Stylianidou works as a video and installation artist, using in her works related artistic media such as text, sound/music and performance. Her artistic process involves a constant renegotiation of public and private history, as well as public and private spaces.
Her works deal with the limits inherent in systems of order and discipline such as language, architecture, body, power, family, and gender. Especially in relation to language, she is interested in ways of using it which challenge and subvert its everyday use in an attempt to suggest new paradigms for knowledge and experience. In her video and installation work, she employs texts that take on a poetic form and enter into dialogue with contemporary political philosophy and the Lacanian theory of the unconscious, as well as with elements from current news items.
She also explores the interconnections between, on the one hand, language and, on the other, the voice, the body and the image as rhythm and materiality.
The sound devised for her works borrows elements from the genre of the spoken word as well as from diverse experimental and underground music and poetry movements.
The exacerbation of the European (and global) sociopolitical and economic crisis, primarily visible in the European south, lends renewed relevance to the question of “How can art pave new roads for thought and put new artistic practices to the test?“
Since 2012 with a series of textile- and text-.‐based installations where she makes use of fabric bolds, texts, her voice and rhythm/music she initiated the cooperation with a Greek clothing export company. In this series of works-in-progress she investigates the relation of POETICAL and VISUAL/ARTISTIC THOUGHT with the reality of (artistic) labour and economy.
As of 2012, parallel to her individual work, she founded the collaborative format STUDIOvisits.
Queer Meaning: a Zero Place of Resistance
Today art can only be made from the starting point of that
which, as far as Empire is concerned, doesn’t exist. Through its
abstraction, art renders this inexistence visible.
Alain Badiou (Fifteen Theses on Contemporary Art)
There are only bodies and languages, except that there are truths.
Alain Badiou (Logics of Worlds)
Let us call “subject” every finite state of a generic procedure.
Alain Badiou (On a Finally Objectless Subject)
The language-based operations that are at once evident in
Vassiliea Stylianidou’s work make us face immediately with
a challenging hermeneutical puzzle. What is the significance of such a dense apparatus of fictions in a work that cannot
be said to have progressed from its grounding parameters in a linear fashion but evolves in a somehow oblique way? Is it possible to approach such a highly demanding inquiry using interpretative tools that derive from common art critical discourses? As Vassiliea Stylianidou’s work seems to act just on a register neither of language-prose nor on that of the image but actually right across them, any one-dimensional reading of her work might appear simplistic and limitative. Thinking about space, language and the embodied subject seems to be the main objectives in Vassiliea Stylianidou’s work. The best way to understand how she investigates these objectives would be to find its appropriate philosophical counterpart and try to critically comment on them. Alain Badiou’s article on the Writing of the Generic, a unique interpretation of Samuel Beckett’s late modernist poetics, offers the appropriate means to come closer to the complex operations, which are at work in Vassiliea Stylianidou’s oeuvre. Of course for Badiou the ge- neric refers to what he calls a “truth”, which is as such always indifferent to differences. And for Badiou it is the subject that, which is defined as the local or finite status of a truth. Inci- dentally the generic, truth and the subject intertwine. This is the case by Beckett. According to Badiou’s reading of his work, “this generic desire is to be understood as the reduction of the complexity of experience to a few major functions, as the treatment in writing of only that in which an essential determination inheres. For Beckett, writing was an act ruled by a strict principle of economy”. Beckett’s fictional apparatus subtracts anything that figured as mere circumstantial orna- mentation, anything that has incidental characteristics, in order to create both a novel paradigm of the subject and a way to talk about it. And it is, in fact, the work of Beckett that has managed to stir up specific linguistic structures and indicative figural logics, which sustain our common and ordinary reality in order to criticize it. Language in Beckett’s world becomes, then, an image of a highly abstract speech, actually a visual system, with an almost mathematical precision. His oeuvre represents an accurate apparatus by means of which such operations of “visual poetics” come into work. It constitutes a significant locus classicus of modernity. Think of the work of Mallarmé, Joyce, Kafka or Perec and compare the visual impact of such a “dispositif” of poetics deployed in their writing with the verbal power of images in the work of Duchamp, Schwitters, the early Rauschenberg and artists of the subsequent conceptual art. This is the reason why this “Beckett-dispositif” is so useful in accessing the complex worlds of truly contemporary artists, such as the one of Vassiliea Stylianidou, as well as the artist’s own critique of concepts such as subject, space and language. (...)