NICHOLAS JONES : ‘’IONIAN ODYSSEY’’
All who wander are not lost
For over 15 years, Melbourne artist Nicholas Jones has been making his unique work out old and unwanted books. His current body of work follows the history of navigation and mapping in the Ionian Sea, focusing on the island of Kefalonia.
Inspired by studies of the journeys of Odysseus and the collection of the Corgialenos Library in Argostoli, Jones Odyssey brings him from Australia to Greece in search of the Old, the New and the Forgotten.
*Nicholas Jones *
John Buckley Gallery – Nicholas Jones
State Library Exhibition – Nicholas Jones
Meanjin – Nicholas-jones
Where They Create – Nicholas-Jones
Facebook Page – Nicholas Jones Book-Sculptor
Documentary on Nicholas Jones 2011 <http://vimeo.com/27334681>
Thoughts by the Art Critic George Kakis Konstantinatos,
introducing the work and exhibition of Nicholas Jones entitled<< IONIAN ODYSSEY>>
Ionion Center for the Arts and Culture ,Greek Island Kefalonia
August 31 2015
Just as the Antikythera Mechanism, where we see something rather very small, that hides a vast knowledge, specificity, precision, wisdom, thus – under similar terms- we should see the work of Nicholas Jones.
Like something very small, that hides his hard work, talent, knowledge
and the study of the object, which is the artistic sculpture – ‘surgical’ ‘- interference
mainly in old books.
What one can see with a glance touch in the work of Jones is that his books carry
dust of the time were written, along with the meander of the life struggle of that time,
things that both the artist brings to day light , to accept on their leaves the fresh air
in a renewed journey where their new life is starting now!
The paper cutting sculpture of Jones is respectfully taking into account what is written within these books,
The theme of the book, together with the material on or by which this occurs:
The old paper, the ink, the era fonts, etc. all been brought in today.
Given that the books printed under the photosynthesis process ,
none of them will stay permanently throughout the upcoming centuries …
(The destruction will happen under very slow process, already determined by all of us as fact regarding the
first fax printings or the payment receipts).
Only pages that are printed in the classical way in printing pressure machines- as
Example the Heidelberg type- will survive.
… the use by the artist of this specific type of classic books and their emergence in a new context, setup a play with the knowledge and the time , that posses a considerable importance.
In the present exhibited work entitled “”IONIAN ODYSSEY’’ we have a Maritime travel and Mapping.
The Navigation <>, needs the Mapping the <
With the assistance of the mapped knowledge, this visual navigation, searches and claims
through this Odyssey an opening in the horizons from the Old and Forgotten to the New,
still possessing the inherent seed decay.
But even so according the subtitle of the exhibition: Those who wandered were not lost!
In the Ionian Odyssey of Jones, Kefalonia Island is referred to as the Central Point.
The Creator has a clear inner sense leading him – perhaps without knowing it – and holding the papers of
Corgialenios Library, implements with his work achievements the fact that during the Greek Empire(so called by the famous Englishman Byzantinologist Sir Steven Ransiman), Kefalonia was the Center in the Ionian Sea, under the administrative title <>.
The artist is conversing- maybe- with his own “”red dressed” people, commanders of the Islands between 1810 to 1864. These people had among them the negative “Maitlands”, rejected by the local collective conscience and the positive “Napier”, saved by the consciousness of the island’s world.
Nicholas Jones works on what only through true art can be operated: He returns to the World clear the body of the Ionian Islands, expurgated by removing with his work any fainthearted geopolitical considerations.
His instrument to achieve this apologetic clearance, patience and art is his scalpel-cutter, cutting paper of his last as prayer, passing hundreds of times over the leaves of his books, chiseling and cutting them, one by one!
The book, a book, any book, tells us “something”. This same “something” is what Jones points out, interfering with his paper cutting, highlighting –after his long study-geographical, historical, cultural elements.
Let’s take as example of his work the little booklet that molds the Lion of St. Mark,
On it is printed the play “Othello” by William Shakespeare.
Yes but Othello is an official of Venice, entity having as emblem of St. Mark’s Lion.
So Jones succeeds to connect in a “talk” Shakespeare, Venice and Othello on the same scene that is the Ionian Islands, underlining the fact of the Venetian occupation on the Ionian Islands, thus putting the project in the body of this report entitled ‘’Ionian Odyssey’’.
Making one digression here to say that Othello, the famous “Black” of the famous Shakespearean tragedy, it would of course never been black. The places reserved to those black people by the Republic of Venice was rather the role of the ship rowers. What is true is that the coat of arms of the historical person , who Venice entrusted the management of Cyprus of acquisition, was represented by three berries, with underneath the word “Mauro”, in Greek means “Black”. The detail, together with the black deed of the murder of his wife Dysdaimona from undue jealousy, gave the Othello the feature of Black!
Beneath the black (or dark red or green or dark anyway -compared with white pages-) cover of his books, Nicholas Jones highlights the whiteness of the pages.
If we want to integrate his artistic work we would say that certainly belongs to the genre of sculpture.
The micro – graphic sculpture.
My opinion is that ,we still can connect this kind of sculpture with one of the art styles :
The “Op Art” (Optical Art).
Τhe fact however is that, Jones finds with his work,His Globally recognizable figurative mannerism.
(Which I’m sure started playing as a kid …!)
And the playfulness between Micro-graphic Sculpture and “Op Art”, in the postmodern era in which we are already, brings to mind a sense from the History of Art:
As Humanity nowadays is attending all her past passing in front of her eyes in a speedy way, we can consider as war signal the return of all styles….!
George Kakis Konstantinatos
Actor- Director –Visual Artist
Siren Earthquake Radio
Artists Craig Dongoski and John Roach propose a series of events on the island of Kefalonia that explore its environment, culture and history. The project, which would run from July 22nd 2015 to August 12th 2015, is structured around the three words that make up its title: Siren Earthquake Radio. Each of these ideas suggest an energy or signal that will frame our engagement and our understanding of the forces that make up Kefalonia’s history.
The project includes four main activities: a fluid participatory event in the Melassani Cave; a performance at the Ionion Center which will bring these two U.S. artists together with local Kefalonian artists, musicians and poets; a series of radio broadcasts that present the daily and evolving work produced during the project; and a schedule of workshops and events in which the artists work with the people of Kefalonia.
1. Event at Melassani Cave
Dongoski and Roach will respond to their experiences, observations and impressions of the cave. The movement of boats through the cave’s watery enclosure will serve as the physical and metaphorical material for a performance and sound installation. The goal is to augment the tour of the cave through sonic interventions. This begins with the understanding that visitors travel and experience the cave visually as a loop. This continuous and predictable path of the boat is a circuit interlaced with small hesitations and deviations. The boats travelling this circuit will become the shifting components of a system of feedback loops, unexpected sonic collisions, music and light.
The flow of visitors will dictate the structure of this performance-intervention and will necessitate our access to and cooperation with the authorities who manage the tour schedule. On the other hand, a discrete performance using the cave as an amphitheater is of equal interest and enables other possibilities. We could engage Melassani as a controlled performance venue in addition to, or in place of the aforementioned visitor-dependant proposal.
2. Performance at Ionion Center
Dongoski and Roach will design an event for a live audience at the Ionion Center. While the shape of the performance will be determined during the residency, the goal is to work with local artists which might include musicians, dancers, poets, etc. Of particular interest is the language and music of the island, which the artists will meld with their own revelations that arise during their explorations in Kefalonia.
An initial starting point is to use the wind as source material. To this end we would like to begin a conversation with authorities that might grant us access to document wind turbines and allow us to temporarily install wind harps for collecting sound. We also want to put the geological reality of earthquakes (eg seismic activity) in the foreground of at least one of our performance pieces. Access to a facility that possesses a seismograph is of great interest for the artists and would connect the geology of the island to drawing and graphic notation.
3. Radio Broadcasts
The artists will be in constant dialogue with Kefalonia as a place: its weather, its goats, its land, its water; and will be recording and experimenting throughout their stay. Each day Dongoski and Roach will create a mix from the material accumulated so that it can be shared over the airwaves.
4. Workshops, Events and Actions
While many of our projects incorporate collaboration with the people of Kefalonia, we would like to encourage direct and organized participation through workshops the results of which can feed back into our work. One example is an instrument building workshop for children followed by an improvisation session. Another is a Greek language pronunciation workshop in which the two artists work with local participants to attempt to enunciate words in Greek.
In this Interdisciplinary Design Lab, under the supervision of Dr. Mark Titmarsh, the discipline of design is cast as an agent for change, a way of creating and critically exploring possible futures for various contemporary urban environments. Centering on the island of Kefalonia, Greece, the lab will consider the future of the island with regard to the use and re-use of everyday plastic materials. This will involve investigating the island, its towns and locales, to recognise how it functions in terms of urban planning, public space, sustainability, architecture, tourism, sea sports and related design disciplines.
This studio project will begin as an exploration of plastic, the story of its creation and how it is has come to be ubiquitous in the design of daily practices. We will be looking at the use of plastic on the island for business and recreational purposes and noting in particular any dependence on the use of disposable plastics, from plastic bags through to coffee cups.
You are being asked to consider the cultural history of the island, its institutions and businesses, its domestic and recreational resources and any issues that might be generally applicable to other island states like Australia or Indonesia.
Your final goal on Kefalonia is to design a presentation for display in the gallery of the Ionian Centre. These works can take the form of creative installations that reflect consciousness of plastic usage, behavior steering towards ideal sustainability, and up-cycling for aesthetic practicalities, potentially creating a model for other islands and island states to emulate.
Working in a teams you will devise a component of the final exhibition that will take place on Friday 3 July 2015 at the Ionian Center for Arts and Culture. This work will be designed so as to integrate with the other interdisciplinary teams from American and Greek institutions to form a unique public event that indicates alternatives for existing plastic forms on Kefalonia.
All communication in Sydney will be initiated through UTS Online
Dr. Mark Titmarsh (born 1955, Ingham, Australia) is a visual artist working in painting, video and writing. His paintings and filmwork are currently held in public collections across Australia, and in private collections in Europe and the United States.
His current work executed under the rubric of ‘expanded painting’ is painting about painting or painting that dissimulates into objects, videos and texts. Recent work has included paintings on industrial materials, environments of fluorescent string and video works for mobile phones. In 2006 he was a cofounder of the artist run space, Loose Projects and is currently co-editing a book on the gallery.
In the 1990s he co-founded the Sydney based artists group Art Hotline that exhibited ephemeral works in non-gallery everyday sites. He also edited a book documenting their activities between 1992 and 1995. Much of this work could be described as post-painting objects in that they take the form of 3 dimensional constructions that refer specifically to the conceptual aspects of painting. His screen based work included video and experimental websites that were exhibited in Multimedia Arts Asia Pacific in 2000.
Mark is active in issues surrounding the arts, having been a co-founding member of WAAR (Working Artists Against Ralph) and PEAASS (Promoting Electoral Awareness of the Artist’s Status in Society), two groups that were formed to defend artists’ rights and raise awareness of their contribution to the national cultural environment. He was a co-founding member of Group 3 three, an artists’ collaboration exploring the boundaries of painterly practice through installation and photographic documentation.
In the 1980s he established an international reputation as an experimental filmmaker exhibiting in Europe, North America and South America winning awards at Ann Arbor and Montreal International Festivals. In Australia he was a significant contributor to the development of the postmodern debate in the visual arts in his role as co-editor of the visual arts magazine, On the Beach and as a new image painter.
Mark was a co-founding member of the Super 8 Film Group, a Sydney-based organization for the promotion, distribution, and exhibition of Australian experimental filmmaking. He was the founding member of Metaphysical TV — a group of 5 experimental filmmakers whose work relied on reconstructing fragments appropriated from television imagery.
Among other qualifications, Mark has just completed a PhD in Painting at University of Technology Sydney, he holds a Masters degree in Visual Arts and has studied at St. Martin’s College of Art, London; the University of London; the Pietro Vannucci School of Fine Arts, Italy and the University for Foreigners in Perugia, Italy.