“If truth were not boring, science would have done away with God long ago,” wrote Emil Cioran in his book Tears and Saints in 1938. “But God as well as the saints is a means to escape the dull banality of truth.” In his eponymous series, Greek photographer Gerasimos Platanas (b. 1982) photographs the religious relics of the ancient cities of Greece and Byzantium, decayed by time and neglect.
Platanas photographs the saints and religious icons in black and white, using a combination of digital photography as well as Polaroid, inclusive of the famous white border. The figures shown, cracked and faded, are rendered nearly ghostly abstractions. Despite this embodiment of a vision of the past, the images breathe with an eerie liveliness, as if the subjects inside the photographs are scraping their way out. The work has a tactility to it, whether it be the blotched inky surfaces, the peeling paint or a heavy lead-like coating that enshroud the Byzantium halos and obscure the religious figures. By looking to the current state of these fading memories of God, Platanas presents a question of the extent to which we have left behind our escape from the dull banality of truth.