NATIONAL BANK OF GREECE CULTURAL FOUNDATION
MOMUS-THESSALONIKI MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHY
AGIOS NIKOLAOS MUNICIPALITY
EPHORATE OF ANTIQUITIES OF LASITHI
CULTURAL ATHLETIC ORGANIZATION
OF THE AGIOS NIKOLAOS MUNICIPALITY
CURATOR Hercules Papaioannou
Twenty-five years ago Avraam Pavlidis began to photograph interiors, unseen microcosms from the innards of Greek provincial life. His penetrating gaze was persisted with the theme of abandonment, as a pious pilgrim to the ruins left behind by fading life and advancing modernity. In an age when the shiny aspect of the ever-new dazzled the gaze, Pavlidis sought out desolate houses and coffee shops around the territory. After 2010, and while the country had suddenly gone into the deep waters of crisis, he turned to the abandoned facilities of an industrial society that used to produce mass products and behaviours: factories, army camps, hotels, mental hospitals.
The work of Pavlidis is founded upon two main pillars: the first one is documenting as a cornerstone of photography, even if theory has rightly marked this as debatable. The second pillar is his stint in architectural drawing and his low-key apprenticeship in painting First of all through his Easter-time excursions in Mount Athos with Yannis Tsarouchis in the ’80s, which instilled in him an appreciation for genuine folk art. Also, through his acquaintance with the work of Yannis Spyropoulos at the age of eighteen, which touched him deeply.. Both of them sealed his work more than any photographer, enabling him, perhaps unconsciously, to fuse the folk with the modern, the photographic with the painterly.
Pavlidis travels throughout the country in a constant search for an image he hasn’t seen before—a paradox that clearly echoes the contemporary Sisyphean task described by Shayegan: he appreciates the virtues of tradition, at the same time constantly looking for new images among its ashes, within new ruins. This kind of enigmatic contradiction may well represent the fingerprint of an entire era. And Pavlidis seems to be helplessly attracted to enigmatic contradictions and carefully concealed secrets.