In ‘Zoubera and Other Stories’, Costas Tsikinis turns ordinary raw materials into precious ones, in a neo-pop narrative that unfolds stories whose starring figures originate in the world of fairy tales, comic books and pop culture. In the words of poet Olga Papacosta:
1. There are boxes that contain jewellery. The boxes of Costas Tsiknis enclose cosmos. The word cosmos is Greek, and means ‘embellishment’ and ‘order’. The aim of creation is to generate beauty, but before beauty can be born each component of the cosmos must first find its proper place.
2. The box as a space is meant to confine and preserve, to protect and incorporate, to maintain and save.
3. The artist, almost in an alchemist’s manner, turns ordinary raw materials into precious ones. His ‘cosmos’ is one of abundance. Everything can become the material of art; everything has a right to immortality.
4. Inside the boxes stories unfold, snapshots from ‘another cosmos’ whose starring figures originate in the world of fairy tales, comic books and pop culture; excerpts from narratives that claim their autonomy by acquiring new, joyous meanings thanks to the unexpected layout the artist had in store for them.
Yet the true protagonist is Joy.
5. The works of Costas Tsiknis reflect a pagan world where the distinction between inanimate and animate does not exist. The miniscule, repetitive forms on the frame are no less alive than the figures inside the box. There is life in both the microcosm and the macrocosm, on both visible and invisible levels. The artist stands at the borderline between the two worlds as a mediator, a medium.
6. Yet how innocent is this word? Its phosphorescent childishness, its fairytale quality, its booming joy — are all these products of the artist’s imaginary escape into the cloudless realm of Good? If so, what is the Evil that all those countless ‘eye beads’ are trying to ward off? Who is the bad wolf that threatens Little Red Riding Hood? Ultimately, is there any Good and Evil or is it all one thing in the ‘other cosmos’ of Costas Tsiknis?
7. The boxes are born out of circumstances; they are the children of Fate, nods by friends, presents waiting to be opened. (Others call them the Underworld’s sly tricks.)
Text © Olga Papacosta