Opening: 24.04.2014, Duration: 31.05.2014

Intelligence and stupidity are two concepts so related that it is often almost impossible for one to distinguish them. One feeds the other and they function complementarily: for as long as there is intelligence stupidity will coexist with it. Perhaps the most significant difference between them is that unlike stupidity, human intelligence has some limits. Stupidity is everywhere, in all aspects of human activity and in all manifestations of man’s existence from ancient times until today. But if a man found ways and means to measure and define intelligence, he has not yet been able to put stupidity in molds. Taxiarchis Mermiris takes position concerning matters relating to human stupidity issues through his new collection entitled “Homo Stultus” (stupid man). Sarcastic, caustic yet dangerously honest, Mermiris, created a hoard of brilliantly stupid people who embedded within many different environments, are ready to show off their power and domination today. Stupidity is involved in human nature except that in most cases it appears as contagious and incurable. As Carlo M. Cipolla in his book The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity, “the proportion of stupid people will always exceed our expectations.” The stupid people in the works of the collection “Homo Stultus” sometimes appear in gift boxes, wrapped in packages or bubbles ready to burst and make their presence felt in the only way that one, let alone many stupid people, may attract attention. Or again, they are placed on ships sinking and on derailed roller coasters of fun parks piled and aggressive to fighting among themselves and with their other self for an absolute nothing. The civil conflicts are the main thematic axis in the works of the collection “Homo Stultus,” as civil wars are respectively logged repeatedly in the history of mankind. Struggle against their likes, fight against the self, battles with harmless weapons and plastic hammers come to show off the modern revolutions without cause but also the internal conflicts with the remorse, the guilt, the stereotypes and the status quo of the society which man himself created. The stupid people of course, have no remorse, or feelings of guilt on the substantive issues while the feeling of shame is also absent. They are thus delivered to ruthless battles for the most unique, the most excruciating, the darkest and loudest nothing. All for the absolute zero in the utopian idea of omnipotence, “All for an empty tunic, all for a Helen” [George Seferis] since for this false Helen was caused perhaps the greatest war in ancient Greece. The ancient Greek mythology was found feeding the subconscious and the way in which the artist anachronistically worked with symbolism in his works. The gifts in some works open and, once this happens, it’s like all hell broke loose, or even, as if Pandora (the all-endowed) made the fatal mistake for the second time opening the gift of the Olympian gods, spreading all woes and along with them the incurable stupidity. Prompted by another famous legend, Mermiris uses the dragon as his own Lernaean Hydra to symbolize the elusive rhythm by which stupidity is multiplied. In bubbles squeezed like one body, the stupid people oppressed and compact within the sterile factory environment are packaged in a gift box. The bubble is about to burst and release all the stupidity that hides, just as is the case with the bubble of contemporary reality in which we live and turn a blind eye until it inevitably bursts and releases all those woes that we are afraid of or shy or dodge to see. The ships where the stupid people of Mermiris coexist could be modern versions of the «Ship of Fools» of Albrecht Dürer and Hieronymus Bosch, only in this case they sinking out of concentrated stupidity. Some of the passengers are completely expressionless and impassive in this situation, while others express the drama of the impending immersion. Of course, even beneath the water, they continue having fun and thus manage to float, like the corks on the water. Washed up ashore intact, because the stupid man is the one who survives in the ages of ages. The geniuses at the other end, are hanging from stretched threads sometimes plunging in a vacuum and at other times acquiring the looks of martyrs ready to surrender to the crowd of stupid people. The balloons that lift the intelligent ones offer a contrary pattern in Mermiri’s work. While actually the intelligent people bear the burden of their differentiation, however, they are suspended almost weightless from the threads of their balloons; threads so subtle as the differences between them and the stupid people are slight. As the ultimate simulation of today’s society, Mermiris uses the roller coaster that is based on smashed wood. He describes a society based on shaky foundations and permits the preponderance of unfair competition, the belief in the stereotypes and the apparent belief in the values that actually is the surrender to the value system of humans. The wheel and the roller coaster further suggest the cyclical nature of History, the rise and fall of civilizations and states, the repetition of the same mistakes, the prevalence of human passions and ultimately the volatile relationship and constant alternation of intelligence and stupidity. The artist perceives contemporary reality and through the “Homo Stultus” collection attempts by revolutionary means to mirror the human behaviors and emphasize the trivial and meaningless need for separation of intelligent and stupid people.
Efi Palli

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