ENERGY AT WORK
When, for the first time, I heard Costis say that he creates sculptures using lightning, my first thought was that, by using this "divine tool" he is attempting an "yvris", an insolence, with the ancient Greek meaning of the word, that is some kind of refutation. When I saw his work, I understood that he goes beyond refutation. He brings his lightning as a consistent proposition to the Fine Arts, a proposition which brings an innovative approach, both to the form and the perception. The new material he is proposing is the energy field of electronic lightning.
The form he is introducing, which contains also the fourth dimension, Time, is the infinite, unpredictable and instantaneous electric discharges. Their frequency, intensity and form are dictated by the interactive relationship of the work with its spectator, standing within the energy field. The procedure of perceptual approach begins with the refutation of the ancient reflective fear of the lightning and winds up in a proposition for the "bright" side of lightning, as a still unexplored vivifying phenomenon, manifesting itself suddenly, wherever needed to stabilize the electric field of our Planet and insure the continuity of life. Not as a divine punishment but as a "deus ex machina".
To express this perceptive approach, Costis uses an archetypal conjectural glossary. The electronic lightning he makes, using modern technology refers directly to the archetypal symbol of the lightning, an image within the collective subconscious, recognizable both throughout all cultures and all eras.
The under scale replication of a natural phenomenon with the aesthetic specifications of a Fine Arts environment, is a work with dual countenance: What it appears to be and what it is. What we see is electronic lightning, an energy sculpture. But if we try to go a little bit further, namely to the relationship of the spectator to the work, we can discern three reading levels: the tangible, the non-tangible and their synthesis.
The tangible is the level comprising the visible and audible part of the work, that is the lightning itself, the sound of the air ripped by the lightning and the carrying structure of the lightning.
The non-tangible is the level detected by the photographic lens, imprinted as a halo and recorded as non-audible supersonic vibrations, using special equipment.
The synthesis of the tangible and non-tangible levels constitutes the electric field within which the lightning is happening, in interactive relationship to the spectator of the work. So, these energy sculptures remain open works, as the movement, the warmth, the breath of the spectator are all influencing the frequency of appearance, the intensity and the shape of the lightning.
As for the carrying structure, the materials used may be binding as they are determined by their conductive or non-conductive properties, but the heedful spectator will notice that they correspond to the four basic elements: air, earth, water and fire. Costis brings down to the microcosm, to the human dimension, a heavenly phenomenon, not to nominate it as horrifying symbol, as the primitive man would do, but to propose, through its image a new relationship between Nature, Art, and Technology.
What Costis does is to introduce the spectator to the adventure of participation, of communion, through his energy sculptures -that is, to the participating communication. And this is very important in our times, where the spectator often feels like someone who was stood up by a date, in front of the perplexity of the Arts during the last thirty years.
© ART TOPOS, 1996