NEW MYSTERIES

 

Urbanization and the cultural landscape are complex expressions of both human aspirations and failures where everything is connected by both visible and invisible flows.

 

This project is a visual journey along with the alterations of the landscape that mark the passage of the ancient Eleusis into the present-day Greek city. It captures the different historical layers; while displaying the opposition between recent urban-industrial developments and the landscape’s mythology.

As Greek myth tells us, Demeter once visited Eleusis when she rested next to the Plutoneon cave during her search for her daughter Persephone. Laid out over the hill, it became an important site for the Ancient Greeks to honor Demeter‘s existence in the Eleusian Mysteries – secret initiation ceremonies into the miracles of life, death, and the afterlife.

Almost like a contemporary archaeologist, I have found remnants of the past in an environment of modern industries and expanding cities. In this work, I have looked at the rocks which survived as witnesses of the Eleusinian Mysteries and how they have been transformed into the base of the new town.

The title NEW MYSTERIES aims to connect to the theme of the ancient Eleusinian Mysteries with the modern legacy of the town and its industrial heritage. Photographs also portray the mysterious structures and traces left behind by both industries and decades of intense cultural activities. Originally entitled Wating Mythology, the project assumed a more profound and positive meaning after the ‘Third Paradise’ marking executed by master Michelangelo Pistoletto in 2014.

My work is constructive criticism of the developments of an expanding environment that uses as a foundation this historical and magical site: it is not intended to be judgmental. Still, it relies on high-quality documentation with the awareness that trial and error is the primary tool of evolution.

Through my camera, I discovered the archaeological meaning of Eleusis and the striking similarities between old Greek temples and contemporary architecture such as steps, walls, or gates. The industrial plants near the temple, nowadays in ruins, resembles the decaying of those ancient myths and, through my work, the creation of modern ones.

The photo series culminates with the creation of the contemporary myth [Myth Δ], exposing the foothold left by industrial excavation but also highlighting the beauty of nature and the fascinating atmosphere of the archaeological site, cherished by the soft light of the sunshine.

New Mysteries aims to research Eleusis ‘s ‘Genius Loci’ and expose a modern story of metamorphosis. By showing my findings, I want to debate how the Mediterranean landscape and its heritage can be preserved as a primary human value.

 

The main body of work consists of 200 large-format negatives (10 X12 cm) that outline Eleusis’s and surrounding; while a small selection can be seen on this portfolio. Photographs have been carefully composed, allowing to combine them in diptychs, where titles and images interact. The project is also supported by comprehensive research, mainly consisting of old archive photography, cartography, including several hundreds of digital photos, aerial photography, hours of HD landscape footage.

 

Useful links

→ Press release of the solo exhibition 2019 IT: MATERIA ET LOCIS

→ Press release of the solo exhibition 2015 NL: P O S I T I O N S

→ Video campaign I have realized in 2016: KRONOS FACTORY – Europa Nostra 7 MOST ENDANGERED AWARD

Cartography

Photographs

 ” There is nothing before Alpha: that is just where everything begins.”

 

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Myth α | Eleusis 2013 | Plutoneon | © Denis Guzzo | Courtesy of Archaeological Museum of Eleusis

 

 

Where democracy was born / What democracy has become
Athens 2010 | Diptych 2 x 80 x 100 cm Ed. 2/5

 

 

 

2014_04WastingMythology_DenisGuzzo_Temple of Aphrodite

Temple of Aphrodite along the Sacred Way from Athens to Eleusis. 2014

 

 

Destroying sacred hills / Next to the seven Heroes |  Eleusis 2013/2014  | Diptych 2 x 80 x 100 cm 5+ap2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Denis Guzzo Wating Mythology_New mysteries_Elefsina_2013

New Mysteries #1
Eleusis 2013 | 110 x 88 cm ed. 2/5

 

 

 

Trying to survive / Along the sacred way
2014_Diptych 2 x 80 x 100 cm

 

 

WastingMythology_DenisGuzzo_Exploration of the void IV_2014

Exploration of the void #4
Eleusis 2013 | 110 x 88 ed. 2/5

 

 

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Western Cemetery
Eleusis 2014_80x100 cm ed. 1/5

 

 

 

 

 

Untitled industrial landscape

Untitled industrial landscape
Eleusis 2013 | 155 x 123 cm ed. 2/5

 

 

 

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Hope for the new day | Eleusis 2014

 

Denis Guzzo Wating Mythology_View from Magula hill_2014

View from Magoula ‘s hill
2014

 

 

 

For the initiated / For those who played on bones
Eleusis 2013 | Courtesy of Archaeological Museum of Eleusis  | © Denis Guzzo

 

 

 

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Archeological shade #1
Eleusis 2013

 

 

 

Denis Guzzo_Wasting Mythology_Concrete odyssey IV_Elefsina_2014

Concrete odyssey #4 [Tribute to M.C. Escher]
Eleusis 2014

When History repeats itself
Kronos distillery district | Eleusis 2014  | Diptych 2 x 80 x 100 cm

 

 

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Exploration of the void #1

 

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Exploration of the void #7
Eleusis 2014

 

 

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Kronos #7
Eleusis 2014

 

 

 

Social landscape
Eleusis 2014/2015  | Diptych 2 x 80 x 100 cm

 

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Concrete Odissey #9
Eleusis 2015

 

 

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Titan
Eleusis 2015

 

 

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Myth Δ
Eleusis 2014 | 155 x 123 cm_ed. 2/5

 

 

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The disappearing | Eleusis 2015

 

The third paradise | Eleusis 2017 after the mark left by Michelangelo Pistoletto

 

 

A very special thank to

Diomidis and Garifalia Meletiou and their families, Reyn van der Lugt, Lizzie Calligas, Chantal Bosch and Han van Ouwerkerk,  Christos Christakis, the Bees’ Masters, Foteini Setaki, Peggy Tsolakaki, Elena Antonopoulou, Ilias Monacholias, Daphne de Sonneville, Areti Chrysanthou, Alexandros Anagnostidis, Kalliopi Papaggeli, George Skianis,  Laura Minardi, Jurriaan Van Kranendonk, Mariasole Ariot, Tessa, Anne, Huib and Willy Janssen, and all the friends, professionals and collectors who have been supporting the project.

Research

 

 

Below: Aerial photography of the cultural epicenter of Eleusis and the Kronos factory | © Denis Guzzo 2017

Platonic solids

Explorations of the void | Installation view 2016

PLATONIC SOLIDS

Photography is an autonomous language that had given us the power to get to the surface of meanings: a polyhedral archaeology of human ideas, a hyper-surface where every act of perception is an act of creation. Photographs are not what we see, but they are anything else that we can understand from them. Therefore, I like to think about images as some abstract space that continuously evolves.

 

Above: the first study for the Octahedron, combined with  ‘Explorations of the void’ | 2017

 

The ancient Greeks studied the Platonic solids extensively. Some sources credit Pythagoras with their discovery. Other evidence suggests that he may have only been familiar with the tetrahedron, cube, and dodecahedron and that the discovery of the octahedron and icosahedron belong to Theaetetus, a contemporary of Plato. In any case, Theaetetus gave a mathematical description of all five and may have been responsible for the first known proof that no other convex regular polyhedra exist.

The Platonic solids are prominent in the philosophy of Plato, their namesake. Plato wrote about them in the dialogue Timaeus c.360 B.C. in which he associated each of the four classical elements (earth, air, water, and fire) with a regular solid. Earth was associated with the cube, air with the octahedron, water with the icosahedron, and fire with the tetrahedron. There was intuitive justification for these associations: the heat of fire feels sharp and stabbing (like little tetrahedra). Air is made of the octahedron; its minuscule components are so smooth that one can barely feel it. Water, the icosahedron, flows out of one’s hand when picked up, as if it is made of tiny little balls.

Below: The small-scale prototype realized with concrete and c-prints.

Above: small-scale prototype realized with concrete and c-prints | 2017

Exhibitions

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OVERVIEW OF EXHIBITIONS

2019.09.10

MATERIA ET LOCIS | Solo exhibition + guest curator | Galleria Celeste, Vicenza. IT

download  Exhibition press release PDF. Text IT+ENG

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2016.04.  EXODUS | Group exhibition at Corridor Project Space, Amsterdam NL.

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2015.07.08 SUMMER AGAIN | Group exhibition at Van Kranendonk Gallery, The Hague. NL

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2015 .04.05     3 COLLECTIONNEURS, AUTREMENT | Group exhibition at ETE 78 Gallery, Bruxelles. BE  

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2015 .03.04      P O S I T I O N S | Solo exhibition at Van Kranendonk Galley, Den Haag. NL

→ Download exhibition press release ENG
→ Denis Guzzo INVITES + S, M , L , XL NEWS

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2014 .11.12   2015 .01    WENN WIR DICH NICHT SEHEN, SIEHST DU UNS AUCH NICHT

Group exhibition at Frankendael Foundation, Amsterdam. NL

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2014 .07.08.09    YOU THEM US | | Solo exhibition + guest curator | photoQ Bookshop Amsterdam. NL

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.2014 .05    WASTING MYTHOLOGY: CASE STUDY ELEFSINA

Solo exhibition + artist talk at Sijthoff cultuur zaal, Leiden. NL

download  Sijthoff exhibition Press release ENG+ NL