Stavros Messinis’ new photopoetic composition titled Iland will be launched by the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture, on Saturday 30 April alongside his photobook.

Esther Anatolitis, one of Australia’s leading advocates of the arts, cultural and creative industries, and an honorary associate professor at RMIT School of the Arts in Melbourne will be the guest speaker launching the book.

The exhibition will take place on the mezzanine floor of the Greek Centre (Mezzanine Level, 168 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne) and will include the display of the book, a special concertina edition of the book that spreads on a special base, as well as the projection of images on a large surface.

Iland is the result of nearly four years research and photographic experimentation, which took place during his postgraduate studies. The book has been designed, inkjet printed on high quality specialty papers and bound by the artist himself.

“One Sunday morning, early in January 2020, I was walking with a friend around the Churchill Island, a small island near San Remo, Victoria. We were discussing the poem Ithaca by Constantine P. Cavafy, and the same time, I was taking photographs,” explains Stavros Messinis.

An experimental photographic exploration of the concept of homeland, inspired by Cavafy’s poem “Ithaca” and Homer’s epic poem “Odyssey”. Photo: Satavros Messinis

“This is a place I visit often, and it feels like ‘home’. In the area we were walking, the sense of desolation, abandonment, isolation, and the struggle for survival that was evident not only in the region’s natural environment but also in the wildlife, as well as the conversation of Cavafy’s poem, made me begin to think about the idea of the Iland photopoetry series.”

Iland consists of a series of photopoems arranged together in a cinematic sequence, without conscious thought or the need to follow a specific narrative, and all together visually and aesthetically indicate the realisation of a poetic journey in an indefinite time and dimension leading to an imaginative “homeland”. The photobook is developed in a way that it can be entered at different points and doesn’t require chronological reading.

“It attempts to establish a ‘personal place’, which enlightens my artistic expression and perception, as well as my emotions and thoughts on what is happening around me,” says Messinis, explaining that he images convey allegorical and metaphorical meanings related to a journey towards a photopoetic homeland.

Images from Stavros Messinis’ photobook “Iland”. Juxtaposition for colour on top of film. Photo: Supplied

Mysterious, abstract and surrealistic photos of clouds, seascapes, landscapes, houses, trees, people, boats, sunsets and sunrises, together with colour abstract and surrealistic video stills, evolve in a surreal, visually chaotic and indefinite journey, full of surprises and emotions. Poetry, photography and technology collaborate in the development of a creative poetic expression leading to a personal reading and interpretation of the journey to Iland.

“This is a big project and the result of extensive research and study in the context of my postgraduate studies,” says Stavros Messinis adding hat “Endless hours of research, study, experimentation with various techniques and methods, led to the printed photographic composition Iland. In short, it is a journey to an artistic Ithaca, a photopoetic space, where I always return as an artist to express myself.”

“In my new work I try to create photopoems without the use of words or poems. I create photopoems in a similar way as when I write poetry. It could be said that I create poems with light. Iland is the result of many days of experimentation and mixing of photographs, and personal interventions on the surface of images in various ways,” Messinis stresses.

The exhibition and book launch are supported by: The Greek Community of Melbourne, The Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture, the Greek Quarter, the Greek Australian Cultural League, The Photography Studies College, and M+Art Books.

When: Saturday 30 April 2022, 2pm and 29 April – 30 May 2022. From 11 am to 6 pm. Admission will be free.

Where: Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture, Mezzanine Level, 168 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Stavros Messinis experiments with analog photography and digital exploitation, in an attempt to “return to the self”. Photo: Stavros Messinis