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Phaínō (Greek transliteration, ΦΑΙνω)

to show, bring to light, reveal and become evident


Explaining Conceptual minimalism

Minimalism in art is a movement initially emerged in the 50s as a reaction to the excessive expressiveness of Abstract Expressionism, and it has become a lifestyle choice nowadays as a way against consumerism.

I don’t view minimalism from the point of making space for more, but as a quest to find the absolute essence of a moment, feeling or idea. What remains of a moment once the noise is removed? What is needed to reconstruct it? A few simple lines and a concept tell a story, express an emotion, weaving reality. Plato, in his theory of Forms, argues that reality is represented by non-physical Forms, Ideas. I view my minimal illustrations exactly like that, the forms that represent reality. And then, my work goes a step further connecting these forms or signs to meanings, concepts; thus, the term of conceptual. It is a study of human perception, mean-making and understanding; a study of semiotics, the signifier object is my sketch, and the signified the meaning I attach through my caption, or the meaning the viewer has in his mind. It always fascinates me how human mind works. For instance, people see the most minimal abstract form of a kiss, and they think of love and so on; a tear is a heartbreak, handing holds companionship or in my latest work 'Geometry in Nature', few geometric symbols lines and circles depict the body of a woman and a man.   

My new in-progress project illustrates and explains the above in a clearer way. Its title is Phaínō (Greek transliteration, Φαίνω) which means to show, bring to light, reveal and become evident. Inspired exactly by Plato theory and semiotics, I present three photos in a row. A photograph of a real moment, a minimal illustration and the perceived meaning. This sketch is the sign-form; other photos of similar versions or moments could be represented just by that. Then, there is the interpretation, the understanding of it. In my first series, there is a photo of a mother hugging a kid while enjoying music in a street of Cambridge and a minimal illustration, just a few simple lines depicting the hug, which is perceived as Mother’s love.