Panikos Tembriotis’ latest work, inventive and sarcastic, creates the conditions for a pleasurable lunge into the modern human’s unconsciousness. His displayed sculptures impress at a very first glimpse. Naked humanistic bodies pose in various muscular positions, resembling motions of another type of animal.
At first sight, the effect seems both dazzling and fused. At a closer look, however, these figures appear as reflections of a modern human’s psyche, which, having ignored the intellectual dimension of her/his existence, is consumed by various activities, unconsciously incited by an impulse to search for meaning. Paradoxically, the result is equally humorous, as it is sarcastic, since, in an attempt to affirm their superiority over the animal species, these hybrid bodies disclose aspects of their being, which demonstrate their apparent relationship to animals, one they sometimes ignore, and at other times, try significantly to conceal. In the end, what remains is nothing but an echoing absence of existential meaning, as might be the case for the contemporary individual.
As with much of Panikos Tembriotis’ work, the issues of identity construction, individual consumption versus social happiness, superheroic idolatry, and the artist in relation to her/his political make-up, are engaged with here. Life-size mannequins adorned in wooden extensions of fruit, fish, and black crows, metamorphize into physically challenged skiers and roller bladders. Here, we have the merging of an animalistic innateness to survive and a contemporary paranoia of the artist/human to be super-human.
We could ski along with the alien/robotic-looking black mannequin with pink horns, and a spinal cord formed by, what looks like, two bloody egg-shaped hearts. Half skiing and half swimming, as the diver’s fin worn on the left foot suggests. Or we could inflame the very ‘foreigner’/mannequin/individual, who seems to be aloof about her/his own alterity, like the black crow, whose awkward site on the cross sculptures, makes it difficult for us to imagine that it could be ruled out from the tribe. It is necessary that it/she/he has a place in its identities and that they belong to the tribe.
As the title of Panikos Tembriotis’ project of the last two years suggests, the hybrid tribe is not a utopian space, be it imaginary or three-dimensional, but a real topos of clans, animal, human and humanoid, in which we all live interdependently. We are hybrid in our identities and in the ways that we believe, think, behave and perform. For every other individual, community, country, that we come to touch, we give and take something from this cross-ing of civilizing stimulus.
Tembriotis’ glossy and plastic kitsch dummies give off relevant propositions in the way that they make reference to their self-created distortions through a firm aura. If Tembriotis’ film, Helen, commemorates some form of unification of fragmented communities, and My wife threw me out, honours a world in which alternative communities may develop from within a globalized era, Tribus Hyba celebrates physical and conscious alterities in a world growing more and more out of a three-dimensional space.