Arts

Stylianos Pangalos: The Player

Artist's Statement: Stylianos Pangalos

I conceived the film as a sequel to a precedent project, with freestyle skate boarder Kilian Martin. The original idea was to create a series of short films about singular performance artists that reinvent or reinterpret their discipline, not as a showcase reel, but as an art project. Capture the essence of the performance means interpret it, magnify and transform it. Create a dialogue with an aesthetic universe different of the one intended originally.

Arts

Stylianos Pangalos: The Player

In a year where football is celebrated, in its official form, this is an effort to transform it into an art form, to isolate the individual performance and invention. We forget so often the artistry in football for the sake of team spirit and pure performance and statistics. But the very talent of great football players was always to be different, unique, to see potential movement and invent techniques which no one else could. Pele, Zidane, Maradonna, were all players that had invented unique movements, techniques and body language. Iya is such a craftsman in his own way, absolutely concentrated in perfecting his skills. When I met him he was performing in Montmartre amongst jugglers and mimes. His technique was impressive in its athleticism and precision, but there was no narrative. He inspired me and wanted to imagine a frame, a storyline, a form that would reveal the artistry, the elegance and the beauty of his movements.

Arts

Stylianos Pangalos: The Player

Early on, I was thinking of 50’s and 60’s sport illustrations. Black and White posters of boxing fights, the imagery of athletics exhibitions and the Olympics. The pureness of this type of illustration, graphic and abstract, black and white, was a visual reference for me. But sport events are notoriously badly shot in a purely functionalistic way. I started researching movies that have filmed sport events and two of them inspired me: Kon Ichikawa's Tôkyô Orinpikku (Tokyo Olympiades) an art-documentary that follows the 1964 Summer Olympics from opening to closing ceremonies. Ichikawa manages to isolate individuals, athletes , spectators, judges, in extremely graphic, colored with that particular 60’s film nuance, frames. And of course, the opening sequence of Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull, where Jake LaMotta is warming up before a fight, in a smoky, abstract geometrical boxing ring defined by the musical partition like, horizontal ropes. The solitude of the fighter in this sequence is the subject of the film, since there is something deeply solitary in every athlete who spends most of his day trying to overcome his own limits, trying to surpass himself before others.

Arts

Stylianos Pangalos: The Player

Iya becomes like a boxer preparing for the big fight, like a gymnast concentrating before a performance, flies about in his own unique dancing pace, with elegance, precision and seemingly effortless movements. The slow motion, deconstructs the movements, the music, Johnny Mathis sweet and melancholic voice reconstructs them. Time is not suspended like in this amazingly forgotten place, it is slowed down: Melancholia instead of nostalgia. Colour instead of foscilising black and white. Understated style and not extravagance.

Stylianos Pangalos - Paris, April 2014