At the end of last year glass artist Yorgos Papadopoulos celebrated 15 years of professional practice. In itself it is a remarkable achievement to survive as a full time self employed artist for such a long period of time. It is even more so considering the fact that he has put himself outside the confinement of the boxes that were created by the critics of the fine arts. His unique techniques consist of breaking, embellishing and laminating industrial sheets of glass and turning them into captivating glass paintings, enigmatic pendants or sculptural installations. A truly polymorphous art.
Polymorphous is therefor the title of a book that was published recently. In 116 full colour photographs and 8 essays written by Emmanuel Cooper, Vicky Spanovangelis and Arjen De Neve, the book gives invaluable insight in the story behind the artist and his art. In ‘Materials in Process’ it is shown how the work of Papadopoulos fits in to a certain extent with the process art movement, where the creative process receives more attention from the artist than the final artwork. ‘Turning Violence into Beauty’ explores the aestheticist and even ethical impact of the work. ‘Fluid Borders’ takes a closer look at the aspects of cultural identity and inclusion, where ‘Opening the Door’ describes the innovative quality of the very unique iconographic style Yorgos Papadopoulos has developed. This style is further linked, both conceptually and visually, to the Bodhi Series in ‘Spiritual Windows’. The sculptural installations are described in ‘Polymorphous space’.
Using industrial sheets of laminated and toughened glass as his canvas and sculptural material, the link between the glass artworks by Yorgos Papadopoulos and the architectural design is quite obvious. A number of the works created early on in his career were integrated in the interiors of newly built homes or of public places such as the airport lounge of British Airways at Heathrow. But with an education in interior design, it was obvious that artist Papadopoulos would be open for architecture and design integrated commissions too.
The second book is called Vicarious and serves both as a retrospective of 15 years of professional practice in the field of site-specific art and as a description of the process of architectural design integrated art making. In several case studies it describes and illustrates the acquisition of the projects, the development of ideas and design with sketches and scale models, the actual making and the installation of the artworks. Even though all bespoke commissions are the result of an intense collaboration between the artist, the architect, the designers and the ultimate clients, and even though they can be functional objects, enhancing living or work spaces with visual features, privacy or light effects, the works Yorgos Papadopoulos signs off on are always artworks in their own right.
Papadopoulos refers to his work as being vicarious because in every project he is engaged in, he always tries to participate imaginatively in the experience of his partners in the process and of the commissioning client.
You can read them online in Bibliography