In 2008 I spotted Yiorgos Kordakis as a young photographer to watch. And the current exhibition at Karsten Greve sees my prediction for the development of an interesting career come to fruition. This current exhibition, 10.000 American Movies shows the maturation of the young Greek photographer’s work. His particular American Dream gives his photographs a level of sophistication they did not have seven years ago. In particular, the dream is the perfect vision to showcase the intricate production process of the photographs.
Kordakis takes polariods, scans them, blows them up and prints on photo paper to create an aesthetic of deterioration and nostalgia to his images of haunted locations in an American that no longer exists. The effects of Kordakis’ process return the reality of an America that is fading into the background, and off the page, to the surface of the photographic image. This gives the photographs a maturity those of 2008 had not yet achieved.
The images are what are known as monochrome in common parlance. They look as though they have been shot through a filter of green or brown or yellow. But the colour and light are also manipulated in the printing process. The manipulation–which is out of his control–creates an image filled with desolation, emptiness, the soulless world of middle America. It is an America of another, lost era. When Kordakis’ process saw the disappearance of the image off the blurred edges in photographs of beaches around the world, it resulted in a formal effect. But here, the layers of “decomposition” that come with the transfer of the polarized gives the desolate places and spaces a sense of aging themselves.
Kordakis claims the series to be an America he imagines from the movies. They do not represent locations from specific films, although there is always the temptation to search for such identification. Rather, the places belong the movies in the photographer’s imagination. I wasn’t convinced by this aspect of the photographs, particularly because the apparently lost world of old Hollywood movies is more present than ever in the desolation of the American dream as it is here evoked. That is, the world he shows is not the one that is lost from the America we know today. What is lost is a moral complexity and responsibility nowhere visible on these fading visions.