From the periodical Sima No 4, September-October 1991

It is the relationship between the signifier and the signified, together with “the absence of any code”, which justifies the myth of the “naturalness” of a photograph. Motionless in front of the still object to be photographed, for a few seconds the artist-cum-photographer “generates a scene which seems to have been spontaneously enacted by Nature”.

A photograph, seen as the perfect “analogue” of a natural object, appears as an iimprint, a recording of an unceasing message, a message which is an extension of the actual object. This natural “analogy”, then, designates the photographic image as an object without a code. So we could say that, until 1987, Aris Georgiou was printing photographic images, which, owing to their initial, absolutely analogical nature, were messages without a code. In other words, any cultural markers, such as meaning, for instance, were presented as “natural” and not as the outcome of a conceptual quest. After 1987, to this message without a code, the photograph, there was added a code (or rather emphasis was given to something which by definition already existed), which was based on the repetition, addition, and juxtaposition of “markers” — a transparency, the scraping of its surface, colour — elements which lead to an obligatory quest for a meaning. Whereas before 1987 the artist was extending the “natural” analogy of what was real, and rejecting any semiological interpretation, he has subsequently introduced into his work a technique which is, usually, based on a theatrical, chromatic, chemical “game”, the purpose of which is to create a script. That is, to the developed black transparency he has added photographs of objects, which, according to his particular objective, he scrapes away or adds to again, photographing them and developing them many times over. By a process of constant scraping, he arrives at a creation in which there is no distinction to be made between the photographic work and the “pictorial”. He is thus resorting to a quest for the signifier and the signified and “forcing” the decodification of the recorded elements.

Through his pictorial intervention on the filmic surface and his successive repetitions and additions, Aris Georgiou is setting up a two-way relationship — between creator and creation — which refutes the “immobility of the photographic event”, since the originally photographed object is not an analogy between what is real and what is photographed, but the script for a new “object”.


1. Jean Arrouye: “Roland Barthes et la photo: Le pire des signes”. (in) Les cahiers de la photographie.

2. Roland Barthes: “L’obvie et l’obtus”, ed. Seuil, 1982.

3. Idem