Inside, 2015. Painted drinking straws, recycled water bottles, and staples, 24 x 10 x 6 in.

Konstantinos Stamatiou: In Praise of Junk

Greek-born sculptor Konstantinos Stamatiou, who divides his time between Athens and New York, works with throwaway materials such as plastic, Styrofoam, and cut drinking straws, following the path established by Arte Povera, in which a “poor art” is constructed of humble elements (Jannis Kounellis, a sculptor of Greek origin, is an important practitioner of Arte Povera). Stamatiou’s work provides a lyrical experience with the lowest of materials, suggesting a true economy and ecology of the world of junk – the things we casually leave on the street. Revolutionary in their own way, Stamatiou’s works result from concern about the environment, “how the “political decisions of our leaders’ and ourselves affect our lives.” Stamatiou’s conscious choice to make work out of discards and trash amounts to a rejection of the world as it now exists. It is perhaps inevitable that his politics are progressive and that his disappointment with the current economic and political status of his native country is quite strong. His use of everyday items is a refusal to acquiesce to the now-global culture of consumerism. Living simply, Stamatiou shows courage in his quiet but tenacious integrity,which follows pioneering politics as well as aesthetic experimentation. At a time when the market for modern and contemporary art is inflated nearly to the point of disbelief, Stamatiou’s ambitions feel like a healthy corrective to an art world whose measure of success is determined by monetary value alone. …see the entire article in the print version of March’s Sculpture magazine.