Repurposing ordinary materials, Dimitris Ntokos’ ongoing exhibition Artist’s Diaries at Isnotgallery centres on the beetle, which is presented in repeating patterns within elaborate symbols. The artist himself characterises this work as a diary of his thoughts.
The beetle, a symbol linked to Egyptian mythology, is at times used as a frame around and within which maps, portraits and narratives appear, and other times it is the base on which they are artificially crafted, always symmetrical and with detailed compositions.
The beetle, therefore, a distinctive mark of Ntokos’ art, which begins as a seemingly insignificant element, is redecorated and shaped through the artist’s style and technique. In a way, it acquires a new, sophisticated dimension as in many cases it’s presented in carved, wooden frames where one would expect to see a human portrait or even a reflection.
By placing the beetle in the centre, the artist perhaps wants to invite the viewer to interpret the beetle as a possible reflection of self, confirming the connotations of the insect in Egyptian mythology: the idea of deep transformation, personal regeneration, fertility and therefore creation.
At first glance, Ntokos aims to surprise the viewer with the multidimensional and the imaginative theme of the pieces, while simultaneously absorbing the illusions created through the combination of geometric patterns, different designs and intense colours.
With a dense concept and message behind it, the exhibition is a call for thought and self-reflection. The urban, surrealist aesthetic remains as a key element in Ntokos’ work, even when it is transferred to art institutions, undisturbed by the city’s rhythms.
What’s interesting to note is that the frames used in this series of work were collected from various markets around town and the pieces were made to fit them. Other materials used are fusions of old magazines as well as metals Ntoko found on the street. In this way, he attempts to save them and offer them a new, functional use.
Born in Athens in 1984, Ntokos studied graphic and architectural design which he practiced for ten years before exclusively painting. He is self-taught and first emerged as a street artist. His wall murals and artistic interventions in the urban environment can be found all over the centre of Athens. This will be his second solo exhibition, while he has taken part in numerous group exhibitions over the years.
Artist’s Diaries is a fine addition to Nicosia’s art scene, playing with the eyes of the viewers. Discover another aspect of the beetle through the artist’s work.
Exhibition by Dimitris Ntokos. Until October 27. Is not gallery, Nicosia. Tuesday – Friday: 3pm-7pm. Saturday: 10am-2pm. Tel: 99569498