The photographic work of Panos Kokkinias brings together two distinct traditions: on the one hand the careful recording of the features in the everyday environment – people, objects, and spaces – in a quest for a personal identity; on the otherhand, the persistent narration of weird, unexpected stories which explore sexuality or the fear of death. His work thus emerges as a kind of otherworldly genre.
The familiar figures and spaces and the accessible outdoors are retained as a realistic backdrop for the narrative. Inside, however, the eye of the camera acts as an observer of the invisible: it retrieves latent possibilities, as if they were past/future events inscribed in the spaces and the people. The photographic technique contributes to this distortion of reality, exactly because it reproduces it with precision: the obsessive attention to detail, the strong colours and the clear outlines are necessary prerequisites for the imaginary to show through.
Moreover, the shooting distance from the subject and the lighting patterns reinforces, even more than the sense of our voyeuristic witnessing of a story, the certainty that we are brought in contact with the projection of a mystical dynamic. In this way Kokkinias manages to transform the familiar into an unexplored, remote place, at the same time turning his stories into fantasies which may become true at any moment.
Outlook Exhibition Catalogue, 2003
Panos Kokkinias is born 1965 in Athens, Greece. He lives and works in Athens. He studied in New York at SVA (School of Visual Arts) and then went to finish his masters in photography at Yale. He was the student of Gergory Crewdson and Philip-Lorca diCorcia.