I was born in Pafos. For me, Cyprus represents my beautiful childhood. Every year in spring, I picked up my paints, brushes and whatever I could gather to head to the fields to paint. I painted tirelessly. Still a small child, you could barely find me among the lush vegetation. By the time I was 13 or 14, I was experimenting with the conservation of paintings and murals mounted on scaffolding. Today, unfortunately, I don’t find myself in Cyprus as much as I would like, but I’m always present at everything that happens with or relates to my work. I simply love Cyprus, and not for the sole fact that I was born and belong there.
About representing Cyprus at the Venice Biennale
In 2009 I represented Cyprus in Venice. At the time I was taking part in a group exhibition in Paris. It was there that the chief curator of the Centre Pompidou saw my work. During that period the Ministry of Culture in Cyprus invited her to head the country’s submission to the Venice Biennale. She came to Cyprus, saw my work and decided to collaborate with me on the project. This was a momentous occasion and a very unique opportunity for me. It was the talk of the town! I was relatively young when this happened. I must admit that the tendency for Cypriots to entrust young people with big demanding projects says something very special about us.
About his work
As far as I am concerned, there is no single work of art or participation of mine that I can single out. They are all equally important to me because they are a reflection of my reality. I don’t believe that artists experience some kind of epiphany, I firmly believe in hard work. There have been very few times in my life when I felt that the art just flowed from me, or that everything just fell into place. My art entry at the Venice Biennale was one of those times. I usually work for endless hours; however I never withdraw into my studio for days at a time. I can’t do that, I’ve never been able to do that. I don’t like constantly using the same materials for my creations. I have no issues switching from marble to flowers, between an enduring or ephemeral medium. On the contrary, this interchanging of mediums is one of the focal points in my work. I genuinely believe that a work of art is just like a poem. Just as a poem can tell you everything within four verses, a work of art should instantly resonate within you. It is something simultaneously beautiful yet complex.
Art will always concern those that have a passion for it, regardless of their financial standing. This will always be the case because the need for self-expression is a basic human need. When you visit a large museum, such as Tate, you see families with children. They relate to art and this pertains to their education. These days I’m taking part in an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design in Detroit. This past summer I organised a camp for children at the same museum. They were asked to choose among pieces of art that they wished to work on. When I received pictures of the children working on one of my creations, I felt an indescribable joy. This was proof of what I believe: that art is neither solely a luxury nor a hobby reserved for those that can financially afford it. Art concerns us all!
Socratis Socratous in brief
- His first exhibition took place at Dakis Joannou’s DESTE Foundation in Athens.
- He represented Cyprus at the Venice Biennale in 2009, his submission of which was much spoken of.
- He has also participated in two other major exhibitions, one at the Benaki Museum in Athens, the other at the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia. At the moment, he is taking part in the exhibition “Landlord Colors: on Art, Economy and Materiality” at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Detroit.