The Promise of Happiness. Sometimes adapting the skillful language of the carpenter or the furniture designer and sometimes splurging into the amateur do it yourself-attitude Velonis' sculptural work both salute and satirize the principles of democratic design that combine politics with domesticity.
There is something promising, something desirable about the Swedish model, especially in times of global economic crisis when the swedish economy seems to stand as unaffected and well rooted as a pine tree in the deep forests. This is of course not entirely true, but the cliché image is striking. The project of modernisation with technology, social engineering and the promise of a better life propelled the emergence of the swedish success story. However, a more nuanced analysis of the Swedish welfare state entails the complex understanding of its achievements and its drawbacks.
In The Promise of Happiness Kostis Velonis engages with the mutual relationship between social welfare and cultural modernity based on the belief that architecture and design will improve society, and that behind formal and aesthetic applications there is a plan for the production of happiness. With equal amount enthusiasm and critical investigation, he embraces the two contradictory interpretations of the welfare state – from one perspective it is understood as a democratic structure which is liberating on the individual level; from another the individual is understood as controlled and repressed by the state. Sometimes adapting the skillful language of the carpenter or the furniture designer and sometimes splurging into the amateur do it yourself-attitude Velonis’ sculptural work both salute and satirize the principles of democratic design that combine politics with domesticity.
Kostis Velonis holds a three month residency at Iaspis in Malmö with Signal as the host institution (Oct-Dec 2011). http://kostisvelonis.blogspot.com/
Image: Kostis Velonis, You Might be Able to Climb but Defenitely you will Fall, 2011
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Signal - Center for contemporary art
Monbijougatan - Malmö
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