Tique | art paper asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Antonis Theodoridis.
Lives in Athens, Greece
How do you describe your own art practice?
I use a number of different photographic techniques, from analogue dark room to digital, photo-montage, as well as work with found photographs and archives. I started off as a documentary photographer (for the lack of a better term), but do not want to restrict myself within this one genre. Its good to function within the borders of a distinct photographic language, but it can also become too sterile for me.
What was your first experience with art?
My parents were passionate about museums, so I was frequently exposed to (mostly classical) art as a child. However my first personal experience was in the school darkroom, were I learned how to work with different film formats and make silver-gelatin prints. Its smell has stuck with me for years and my love for silver-gelatin prints and traditional photography too.
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
We are lucky compared to previous generations in that sense, for having constant access to multiple sources of inspiration. I think literature is where I mostly turn to for inspiration. There’s many well-known essential books for artists, but some real gems are hidden where one would less expect it. For example, I recently read ‘The Peregrine’, a book by amateur ornithologist J.A. Baker. His clarity and uncanny ability to describe the world is a great gift to any photographer.
What do you need in order to create your work?
I try setting the parameters of the work at an early stage, technically but also content-wise, but it usually shapes itself during the making, by small discoveries or accidents. It’s hard for me to pre-visualize the work – pictures turn out either better or (more often) worse than the initial concept. I usually work with multiple ideas simultaneously, to be able to take time off and come back with a fresh eye.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently in residence at the EIB-Institute in Luxembourg, working on a series of photo-montages, using images from museum archives. I am also preparing a photo installation for my Photography MFA graduation show at Hartford.
What work or artist has most recently surprised you?
I recently visited Mark Dion’s exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in London. One installation specifically was titled ‘Library for the Birds of London’. The viewer wanders into a giant cage, amongst a flock of live zebra finches which fly chirping around a dead tree, sitting on a heap of bird-related books and hunting ephemera. I was overwhelmed by my feelings at that moment. Its absurd, but if you think about it, despite our immense formal knowledge of the natural world, it seems we are still somewhat in the dark.