Step inside the home of Athens-based artist Antonakis Christodoulou and a world of treasures will quickly reveal itself. Born and raised in Crete, Antonakis’ artwork is captivating because he is a storyteller, and whether it’s examining dimensions of reality and mythology in the context of television shows, or exploring ideas of familiarity and nostalgia between his native Rethymnon and Los Angeles, Antonakis’ artwork is distinct because it occupies a place in contemporary art that is unlike many of his peers. His art dives head first into subjects such as (but not limited to) pop culture aesthetics, interplay between memory, illusion and recollection, investigations of recent yet historical cultural phenomena, and much more.
Antonakis’ interest in stories is clearly apparent from many of his recent works. His last show at the Eleftheria Tseliou Gallery in Athens, Release the Kraken, dove into 80s TV aesthetics in a review of modernism and pop art, which was in some ways an evolution of his previous exhibition Too Cool for School that examined modern storytelling and mythology through similar TV-based examinations. His web-based project There Is No Place Like LA and his essay Rethymnon, as in Los Angeles explore narratives of memory and illusion, and similarly emphasize a concentration on ideas of how we see the world and tell our own stories when set against specific backdrops. Antonakis further explores the story of his own neighborhood in his recent Flaneur piece, hunting stories from the once famed Fokionos Negri Street in the historical Athens neighborhood of Kypseli.
Beyond his artwork, Antonakis’ personal environment is full of treasures collected from his trips the world around, especially California, a place where he found many commonalities with Greece. These treasures tell the story of Antonakis himself, and are therein a true reflection of his artistic output and creative spirit. Paintings from one of his recent shows reflect the already colorful hues of his home and personality, complimenting his well-curated collection of art, souvenirs, and personal tastes.
Antonakis and his work also reflect Athens, and what it means to be an Athenian artist with deep connections within and outside of the city and Greece. As a world-traveler and curious mind, his body of work investigates universalities in our lives that are in some ways specific to the times and places of his chosen subjects, and in others, are borderless. As a painter, photographer, creator to the core, Antonakis’ art welcomes viewers into worlds both familiar and unknown through a lens we often forget we had.