Sunny Days/ A true story is a series that explores an abandoned road which once was a major arterial road through Northern Greece. I have been travelling back and forth to capture the remains of the route that was taking me to the sea, when I was a kid. The landmarks of my early summer days in the family car have long been neglected and left to the whims of time and nature, leaving houses and objects in decay. The construction of the new highway which runs parallel to the old one transforms the landscape. The places I remember are now covered in a thick layer of dust.
Carrying a heavy plate large-format camera, I started shaping my own personal story in a deliberately composed style. Along the way, I have photographed dystopian spaces, where the weight of the recent past is manifested, and I have selected artifacts that are part of an uncanny and inscrutable world. I was fascinated by the objects scattered all around and I captured them on a stand, as important findings or museum exhibits.
On my journeys I met people who have chosen to retreat from society and live off the grid in this liminal area. Using a white backdrop fabric, I photographed them as lead actors of the narrative. These hermits, burn-outs, runaways, horse whisperers, artists live their own self-contained version of happiness in farms, warehouses, cars. I reflected on the ways their daily reality is affected by local development schemes and the implications for the shaping of the landscape. The constraining policies of exclusion create repeated limits and produce installations of a new type of architecture arrangements.
Such “non-spaces” grow, adapt and are constantly reinvented, outside of the common, predictable world. People leave traces at these locations that become inscribed as relics of their time. The objects – discarded as trash or preserved as memorabilia – tell stories of identity and loss, pose new questions while affirming old certainties. It is a parallel reality with its own ethos and history that cannot exist apart from the mainstream reality. They remain inextricably bound up, as two sides of the same coin. This project wishes to open the door into the hidden reality that stands in plain sight or in other words, unfold “a Faraway Nearby”.
Kosmas Pavlidis, born 1978, is a photographer, living and working in Thessaloniki, Greece. He is co-founder and academic director of Stereosis School of contemporary photography, created in 2004.
He has curated numerous group and solo exhibitions, projections and publications for emerging lens-based artists. At the same time his work has been showcased in various group exhibitions and international festivals including, Balcan Can Kino / 2020, European Cultural Days / 2018, Athens Photo Festival / 2017, 6th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art / 2017, Medphoto Festival / 2016 , White Shadows Exhibition / 2014, Green Project Moving Photo Exhibition / 2014, A walk in the city Festival / 2013, Photobiennale Thessaloniki / 2013, Thessaloniki International Film festival / 2011. In addition he has exhibited his photographs in important art spaces such as Museo de Bogota / Colombia, Casa Bianca / Greece, Michael Cacoyannis foundation / Greece, Benaki Museum / Greece, the Contemporary Art Center of Thessaloniki / Greece, Museum of European Culture / Germany and in several galleries in Europe.
His photographs are part of several public and private collections.
© text and pictures by Kosmas Pavlidis