Babis Venetopoulos was born in Thessaloniki in 1973. He lives and works in Thessaloniki and teaches at the Visual and Applied Arts Department of the School of Fine Arts, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Babis Venetopoulos uses as a main means installations, which always contain moving images and technology in general. He started out with sound and audiovisual experimentations on interactive art, while afterwards he started exploring the human figure and particularly his own and his relatives’ who are the protagonists of his video art. Most of his videos are “self-portraits” characterized by the restricted space and the confinement of the figures within it, the suffocating environment, the distortion and contortion of the human body members, which are depicted as a collage of human limbs. Usually his videos present a slight eye or mouth movement and that is the only way the viewer realizes that it is a moving image.
Issues such as the power of the family and the violence it can cause, the psychological deadlocks following personal or historical events, the traumatic experience of the military service and the anxiety of the human existence in general are set either directly or indirectly, either with a hint of irony and humor or harshly and strictly.
In his works Chord and Roots (2002 and 2003 respectively), the artist invites the viewer to a conversation with the work of art and also comments on the natural and technological-television reality, whereas from 2004 onwards, with the work Birds, the artist becomes occupied with his personal, family and collective history. The large cages, in which members of Venetopoulos’ family are being held, and generally the installations give their place to videos as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (2006), where the 3D effigy of a soldier committing suicide revolves around itself endlessly, and Rats (2008), where the image of the artist is surrounded by rats in a video that eminently presents the fears and nightmares of the people. In 2009 two videos stand out, Ego the Great and The Cuddle: the first one shows the artist standing up naked and suddenly deflating and falling on the ground – a powerful symbolism of the artist’s ego as well as every individual’s in a modern narcissistic society. The second video depicts two men hugging although their rotational movement unveils that the young man (son) is stabbing the older one (father) in an attempt to diminish the old authority and establish the new. In 2010, along with Kyriakos Katzourakis, he presents the video installation A while ago, inside an old abandoned building at Kodra ex-military camp in Thessaloniki. In this building, which is filled with water, several video screenings are projected narrating the story of the military camps, the soldiers and the tortures during the dictatorship era in Greece. Lastly, two videos in 2011, Pride and The Laundry, recount the artist’s worries and at the same time reflect similar worldwide behaviors.