Lavrion, on the coast of Attica, has been an important mining centre for three thousand years. The silver that paid for ancient Athens political and economic hegemony was mined there ahd in more recent times lead, manganese and cadmium have been the principal ores extracted. Today the mines are abandoned and the industrial buildings are derelict.
Strapatsakis video installation, with its enclosed metal housing and two small vertically – angled video screens is redoient of that history, with the abstract video images sparking and glittering in many colours, like metallic ore and mineral crystals, atmospheric of past tradition and the beauty that was based upon it.
The metal structure we enter to view the videos recreates the underground passageways peopled by generations of miners. The screens glitter, as we imagine metallic ores would do, with images shot on video in the mines and then montaged at the editing desk with further images of minerals shot at the Museum in Lavrion and combined with images painted in pastels on stainless steel. The resulting footage, with an atmospheric musical score by Haris Xanthoudakis, combines a wealth of historical, mythological and socio-political ideas with the aesthetic simplicity of a kaleidoscopic presentation of colour.
Strapatsakis’ work as a video artist and as a painter has explored the histories and cultures that border the Mediterranean, reworking the archaelogical, cultural and architectural monuments into electronically processed images for today. This metamorphosis of past culture and history is filtered through and interwined with the interaction of the underworld, the earth and the skies and their respective manifestations and representations, as in Hesiod’s telling of the creation story.
This interplay of the three “worlds” is also mirrored by the range of settings in which Strapatsakis’ installations are created, from underground basements and artificial structures to light, airy and exterior sites.