The electric field
and its secret

Costis Triandaphyllou pursues his atmospheric trip with the metaphor of lightning : Vision...perhaps the field is more obvious today. It, actually, concerns the electric field, a space limited by the awakening of consciousness and the consequent surprise.

Lightning draws attention to the culminating point and the main mark of this consciousness of being in the centre of the sound progress of thunder. Lightning can take place at any moment once it has been announced by the typical rumbling of thunder : its appearance is assertive as the conclusion of the wait that results. It appears as a mark and as a tranquilliser for the existential anxiety in the objects that Costis shows us today, that I wouldn’t hesitate to call philosophical objects or rather existential. Lightning is very clearly appointed as an ontological phenomenon. Non-being has repercussions on the «self» and all the skills of the artist lie in his ingenuousness in catching this delicate moment where everything happens when the lightning takes place by flashing its light.

«"Eclat-Eclair" (Light-Lightning): is the title of Costis’ last poem which illustrates by a clairvoyance with no appeal the notion of availability of the being to identify at the most acute moment of consciousness. This is really an existential exercise in the most mental and spiritual sense of the term.

The phenomenon reflects very deeply a secular morality at a human scale : gymnastics of the being and the electric field, which means the electric nature of the universe. What Costis tries to prove through the different devices of his creation, is this possibility at the same time undetermined and endless to which the nature of the sky and of the earth sends us to : the revelation of ourselves.

All of Costis’ art lies in this moment of truth more organic than nature itself which he offers to everyone of us, it is the space of a glance toward the sky. Because in these electronic machines, that Costis uses in his works, there isn’t only the presence of lightning, there is also an implied corollary, the reference to the sky and to our vision, a sky with no dimensional limit that can be resumed in the line of lightning between a cathode and an anode, two electric reference points.


Costis’ working process is globalizing like his wide-ranging conceptual imagination. Lightning’s mark in the sky is of course a metaphor intrinsically poetic and it adapts to any medium, maze, dust from marble or earth, fragments of bronze or iron, lava, a revisited pictorial field.

The important part of the stake lies in the dialectics of the most simple and natural phenomenon, the progress of lightning, between an electric conductor and the opposite, rebelling against the electric stream. Thus Costis’ lightning is inseparable from the fragment of the sky in which it appears and reacts. But this fragment of the sky is the extension itself of the metaphor of electric fire : intangible, invisible, it lies between lightning itself and its physical inscribing which is fragments of bronze, a pictorial surface or a space between two tangible points. This film of the sky, if I may call it so, transcends the metaphor to which it belongs totally and appears as a zone of immaterial sensitivity, indistinguishable from lightning.

With Costis lightning creates its own spiritual environment. So it is a double equation, lightning plus void, that Costis gives us to sense in the electric field. As we can see, the process is rich in meaning. Not only does Costis, the magus, summon lightning, but at the same time he enriches the electric field with all the connotations of a void full where energy spreads freely. This vital energy is the mark of sensitivity. This sensitivity, indissolubly linked to lightning, is its natural field of expansion and communication. Lightning appears as a compact and total phenomenon in its visible and tangible demonstration.

Vision...The speed of the electric fire becomes a symbol as soon as it appears. Costis shows the symbolism of fire as it is. That is how he joins Yves Klein’s grand alchemic message. Costis knows that in the heart of void, fires burn. He didn’t hesitate to follow the igneous way to find them, that tremendous effort of introspective intuition is worth it. Costis has based the poetic and human messages of his metaphor in the dialectics of combustion and light. It is not the burning of lightning that invites us to live better, it’s the shine, lightning’s light.

Costis demonstration presents as an exhibition of philosophical objects whose presence have the ultimate justification of enticing us to think about the double valence of the alchemic fire which is at the same time simple and fearsome. It is a way of making us witness the permanent victory of life versus death and of light versus ashes of shade. The electric field has delivered its secret.

Pierre RESTANY, Paris, 13 October 1994

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© ART TOPOS, 1996
Last update: 22 July 1996