A puzzle of fragmented successive images composing not one tableau but several is the only way to describe the work of George Drivas, who will be representing Greece at the 57th Venice Biennale in May.
The 46-year-old video artist and filmmaker will travel to the Italian city with Orestis Andreadakis, the new director of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival who will head the Greek delegation.
Watching Drivas’s films gives one the sense that time is condensed almost to nothing as past, present and future collide in empty spaces, in people moving around in them and in stories that unfold in the halls of museums and stations.
The artist uses the techniques of silent movies to deliver phrases in between scenes that suggest content of the scenes that appear like a succession of stills.
His work was chosen from among 30 submissions to represent the country at one of the world’s biggest art events, of which 12 were describes as superb by sources familiar with the deliberations of the Culture Ministry panel responsible for the selection.
The submission for the Biennale is titled “Workshop of Dilemmas,” and described as a narrative installation based on Aeschylus’ “Suppliants” that exposes the agony and confusion of people who are called upon to decide whether to save a “foreign” person or element, potentially at the expense of their own community or way of life.
The theme, which makes a direct reference to the refugee crisis, also explores the medium of film and the boundaries between cinema and art.
Drivas lives and works in Athens and Berlin, and has received numerous distinctions and accolades. In 2009, he presented the solo show “(Un)documented” at the National Museum of Contemporary Art while he has also participated in numerous group shows and festivals in Greece and abroad.
He met Andreadakis in 2014, when the latter was head of the Premier Nights Athens Film Festival and had presented four of Drivas’s shorts. Andreadakis also has a background in art after organizing exhibitions in Geneva with Greek street artists and in Athens.