CM: The case of Lafcadio Hearn preoccupied Harris Kondosphyris since his youth. He was interested in his multicultural background. He was the cosmopolitan of the 19th century who is characterized by an open mind. Unlike other cosmopolitans who were attracted by a misunderstood version of exoticism, Lafcadio had a passion for an authentic view towards the exotic - ranging from the Creole culture of New Orleans, to Martinique and Japan.
Herewith inspired by archival family photo of 1896 in Kobe, Japan, in which pose Lafcadio with his wife Setsu Koizumi and their first-born son Kazuo creating a bridge between them, Kondosphyris set himself the task to elaborate the concept of a snapshot either before or after this photographic shoot. T he composition consists of a hanger at one side of which hangs the jacket and trousers of Lafcadio and at the other side the kimono of Setsu. Kondosphyris had in mind the films of Yasujiro Ozu (1903-1963), where Japan appears not as an exotic caricature, but relatin g to ancient Greek tragedy and contemporary urban drama. Similarly, in his snapshot Kondosphyris debunks the importance of traditional Japanese clothing while highlighting the ir simple dimension when they hang empty of bodies from the hanger. Wishing to recreate a familiar urban situation, Kondosphyris thought of a simple picture of hanging clothes. Here, however, these clothes symbolize two different cultures, and the child that examines their folds with its arms stretched out functions as a connecting link. Indeed, the way Kondosphyris constructs the gesture of the child reminds the tender baby configurations of Georgios Iakovidis (1853-1932), who lived at about the same time with Lafcadio. In order to highlight the snapshot's preciousness Kondosphyris placed Kazuo on the kimono's belt, which is folded on the floor. A rose in the belt's interior performs the role of a bookmark.
Kondosphyris uses cement to incarnate the work's content. This way the inanimate objects acquire flesh and bones. The gray monochrome and unworldly material of cement endows the Snapshot with a timeless dimension. That is why it is not important to determine the child's age.
In closing, Kondosphyris warmly thanks the donors of garments, who contributed this way in materializing this Snapshot.
[Megakles Rogakos 04/2009]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn 2009 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens