CM: If Andreas Voussouras did not become a visual, he would certainly be a historian. History is necessary because it rescues the world from oblivion. A brain needs the memory to work and become useful. Voussouras is interested his love for history to pass in the elliptical way of art. A great part of Voussouras' art is concerned with time, death and memory as abstract entities. His preoccupation with these elements helps to reconcile the present with the past for the future.
Voussouras created three variations of the work entitled Learning to Forget. The first has a vertical format and was presented at Stigma Gallery of Athens in 2000 in his personal exhibition No Man's Land / Disposables. The second has square format and was presented at Por Amor à Arte Galeria of Porto, Portugal. The present version has a horizontal form and was exhibited at TinT Gallery of Thessaloniki in 2002, and subsequently at a group exhibition Meeting Point of Art, which traveled to Leverkusen, Germany, at Saint Irene of Istanbul and the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki.
Voussouras' No Man's Land / Disposables exhibition was based on a photographic archive of unidentified people from Greek society in the period from 1950 to 1970, corresponding to post civil war years. The content of this exhibition revealed aspects of the period of the artist's childhood. Playing the role of a visual epic, these works present Greece crushed by the 20th century. It appears that the digital revolution invalidates aesthetically and technologically the entire preceding epoch.
Herewith, Voussouras uses pages from old telephone directories of the Hellenic Telecommunication Organization - OTE. On these pages with a pilot flame he carefully erases each entry separately - name and corresponding phone number. Thus he entered a process that leads to oblivion. Voussouras creates a kind cenotaph of unidentified citizens of this country. Whatever remains from the entries makes them appear as names of life's anonymous victims. The fire performs the dual role of extinction and purification. Learning to Forget is distinguished for its qualities of abstract composition of geometrical order. In its middle a vertical case filled with burned matches strengthens the concept of the state of inutility. The matches, as they appear burned out, give the impression of an entity that has been worn through history.
The arduous and painstaking process of erasing names, put Voussouras in a state of Zen. Such mechanically repeated process, which could be seen as punishment, became a sacred act that serves the good purpose of healing the wounds of the past.
[Megakles Rogakos 10/2009]
HATZIYANNAKI, ANNA Andreas Voussouras: Neutral Zone / Consumables 2000 Stigma Gallery, Athens