I find secrets in the world and if I pay enough attention to them, they talk back to me and tell me the stories.
- Briefly introduce your work and what you intend to show with your photos
First of all, my name is Gala Ioannou, I am Greek Cypriot, from the Southern part of Cyprus and I have been living in Berlin for the past one year now. I have decided to share with you the project that was exhibited at the Frauen Zentrum in the beginning of July, in Penzlauer Berg. (see more below)
Title “A manly gesture of gentleness”
“Man: One day it was hot and powerful, the sun was shining strong in the air and the heat was slow, sweating and breathing heavy…. but in the night, the wind blew, a cool air that brought everything back to life, with a gentleness and a wildness that made everything whole again. That night would have meant nothing without a day like that.”
- Describe your background and how you became an artist
My background is in Fine Arts. I have received a BA from the University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom and I have taken a short course at the New School of Photography here in Berlin (International class) since my arrival here. Artists residencies in Indonesia and Iceland have been salient in my development as an artist. In the past few years I have nurtured my understanding of the world through traveling in Iceland, China, Africa and Indonesia where my beliefs and interpretations have been questioned and re-evaluated, through experience and appreciation of the multiple diverse ways of existence and way of life. Berlin has proven a cultivated ground of growth for me in the past one year, inspiring and nevertheless excitingly difficult in its many faces.
- Explain a recent project or something you are working on
For the exhibition on July 5th 2019 at the Fraunen Zentrum in Prenzlauer berg, we were sponsored by the Women’s Institute here in Berlin, to create work about “masculinity” and its nowadays diverse interpretations. The title of the show was “Boys will be boys”, and the project called upon a variety of different artists,musicians and writers working with a range of all kinds of mediums to explore this idiom, rooted in toxic masculine ideal that often provides a platform for systemic patterns of abuse. One of the institutes’ main intention is to provide support for women who have experienced first hand violence and abuse and so the applications were limited to only female artists that could provide a different, more unified and specific kind of approach, objectively, to the possible paths of what masculinity could be.
- how does it relate to life in Berlin?
The city of Berlin is an ideal playground to explore this theme, as the boundaries of gender seem to be shaken and reinvented in what I consider as the creative capital of Europe. Only a walk in the city’s streets will prove that normality is a questionable concept here and individuality is not something to be hidden, but explored with freedom without “musts” and “shoulds”. As a woman I cannot claim to know what it means to be a man, but photography and my existence as a social being have enabled me to travel through the gender’s depths and intricate possibilities, in my attempt to understand the roots of contact, affection and connection and what it means to be a man or a woman in our day and time.
- what are the key characteristics of your work? how can one identify that it is yours?
I cannot tell you how to read my images, I can tell you that my fascination in the medium of photography does not lie in its technical intricacies but its ability to record and transform what hides around me, its realness and its mythology always dancing together. I don’t usually photograph people, I photograph atmospheres, textures, colours and most of all symbols. Through the boxed frame of my Minolta TC-1 analogue, point and shoot camera, I find secrets in the world and if I pay enough attention to them, they talk back to me and tell me the stories.
“I am trying to find these moments in time when I feel serenity, silence, a rupture of time’s consciousness into a single moment of bliss/peace. My mind longs for these moments, I don’t even realise their existence until after their death, after my thoughts are flooded with a storm of bees stuffed with anxieties, fears. I have stumbled on myself in such a moment and I have recorded it; I had hoped that its visual character would help me recollect that moment. And yet, it seems its death is final. Its photograph only holds a fragment of its power. Yet this fragment I long for and hold dear to me; from this strange world all the way to the bud of my core, where it slowly dissolves and becomes a part of me.”