CM: In 1999 Yannis Ziogas began a series of Alphabetbooks as a diary in which he recorded various ideas and images that have personal significance for each year separately (the Alphabetbooks of 2000, 2002 and 2004 did not materialize). Since the beginning of the project, the artist's aim was to present all his Alphabetbooks together after the completion of a decade of this process. This project concerns a contemporary version of self-portraiture, which means that the artist uses his face, his body and his ideas. For each letter of the alphabet at the end of the year he choose a word of personal importance that starts with this letter and matched this word with an appropriate phrase and picture.
In the case of the letter 'M' for the Alphabetbook of 1999, Ziogas chose the word 'mute' and the phrase "the mute artist". The word 'mute' represents the stereotype of the artist, who merely produces imagery without being allowed to speak. Ziogas accompanied this word with a self-portrait as a commentary on the position of the artist in today's world. In essence Ziogas represented the artist as a motionless manikin on a typical pedestal. The background of the image, with its successions of stripes creating the optical effect of prison bars, essentially expresses self-entrapment as a visual pun on censorship. Indeed, recent events of censorship on the visual arts in Greece (Cultural Olympiad: Outlook in 2003 or Art Athina in 2007) endow this present picture with an unexpected timeliness. In closing, it is worth noting herewith Zioga's fundamental contribution in the book Viewpoints on Censorship in Greece of 2008.
[Megakles Rogakos 12/2006]
ZIOGAS / KARABINIS / STAVRAKAKIS / CHRISTOPOULOS Viewpoints on Censorship in Greece 2008 Nefeli Publications, Athens [Greek]