Thursday, 11 December 2014

Germany: A surreal, dark and sensual fairy-tale in Berlin!

BIRKE vol.II "the watchful tree" by "Forvitinn" Aris Chantzopoulos

For those lucky enough to be in Berlin during November and December, a unique fairy tale- exhibition is taking place in CELL63 Art Platform, in Neükolln.  In the heart of the cold winter, a world of mysterious sylvan beings is being brought to existence by the genuine imagination of a young Greek artist, Aris, known as “Forvitinn”.  It is as if the woods and their majestic spirit come alive to share with us their inner secrets, dark and mischievous, like the human soul.  At the end, it is nature that reflects our inner beings and only through nature can we sometimes conceive our deepest and darkest desires.

"Hybrids, half human-half birch tree figures, in their everyday habits, are placed in between the barks of a forest, spreading their branches trying to show us their presence..
Creatures of high sexual behaviour, emotional, curious, social, lonely, eccentric, aggressive similar to what birch trees are supposed to be behaving, comparing to other trees. A tree which has a kind of unique appearance, being easily spotted in a forest, has an urge to spread its seeds all over, and take over, sometimes even growing on behalf of other tree species, while it's bark could be considered "poisonous"in a visual language,due to it's very sharp black and white colour"

Being inspired by the behaviour of that tree, also called "The Watchful Tree" because of eye-like impressions on the bark, often seen inside the city of Berlin, Forvitinn has given a combination of this unison between Berlin, sexual freedom and eccentricity in a fictional environment where the trees are always observers of people’s actions..

Teaser of the exhibition

"Forvitinn" Aris Chantzopoulos

Born in 1982 in Greece, Forvitinn, is using a wide range of channels of communication and expression to create emotions.
By means of painting, music composing, sculpture, as well as video art, media art, performance and photography, he is conceiving a multi-dimensional image of his own world,his own fairy-tale.

As a painter, two elements mostly dominate his work: A romantic spirit, expressed persistently through his artistic research of virgin forests and aquatic landscapes of elf-like creatures, and the dynamism of a wild inhospitably realistic, but pure and minimalistic plasticity; an urban and technological human-made environment. 
Combining these two worlds together, made him create a very personal stroke, both visually and musically.

Video Art came as a way to combine music and image, having directed video clips and theatre plays in the past, while music within this process of visual composition is always present, and is both a source of inspiration and a means of creative expression.
He composed music and performed live for several theatre performances and dance theatre plays, as well while having already an album in his hands, by the title "shhhh...." he has presented his art in many venues both in Athens and Berlin, as well as other countries of Europe.

To mention a few of them:

Synch Festival, Athens. 
International Film Festival, Thessalonica.
Schaubühne, Berlin.
Curare Art Movement-Malmoe, Sweden.
XIV Biennial of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean, Skopje.

Musical pieces from the exhibition (music by Aris-Forvitinn)

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Greece; TAF, a small temple to worship the best coffee in Athens!

Visting TAF in Athens, Eharcheia downtown district and finding out the secrets of the finest coffee in the city!

by Kon Hans

At a recent article in, a big praise was given to the coffee culture (among other things!) of the Greek capital: Athens has more cafes than Paris and Rome have, and even a greater worship towards the fresh aroma of the coffee and its strong flavor.  After being to TAF at Benaki Street, a small café and a coffee grinder at the same time, and meeting Christos Loukakis, an awarded barista, I could only agree to the above statement after drinking the third espresso!

Q. How long have you been a barista?

A. I have been a barista for about 14 years. It has been a conscientious choice; I have even abandoned my studies to follow my vocation, as I believed it to be back then.  Afterwards, I have realized that it was the right choice for me, and TAF has played a significant role in this.

Q. What is being a barista for you, what is your inspiration?

A. Coffee for me has always been a constant game of changes, of flavors, of aromas, of the constitution itself of the coffee, and its essence.  It is like chemistry; in fact it IS chemistry, a coffee-chemistry which I adore and which I always try to bring one step beyond.  My passion is the mixing of new flavors and varieties and bringing to life a coffee with a perfect body and aroma.  It is definitely an art for me. Here we have many varieties and each month we try to bring a new one.

Q. How TAF exactly works? From what I understand there is also a brand named TAF.

A. Exactly. TAF is at the same time a coffee shop and a place where even the most hardcore coffee connoisseur can find the good quality he is searching for.  I mean, we trade with over 30 farms from all over the world, from Latin America to Africa and India, though our main providers are from Brazil and Africa. We have a system of trade, named “direct trade”, where we try to build a direct relationship with the producers evading the middleman and thus keeping the prices low and awarding the producers for their work, seems only fair to me.  We have two main varieties, and you can check them out if you want (Of course I want!), the Rose Bud with notes of honey and the Estate Blend, more strong and with dark chocolate undertones.  After that, you name it, we have Ethiopian, Brazilian and Guatemala coffee varieties, all of the best quality. 

Q. Thank you, I will surely try!

A. You are more than welcome!

* TAF is on 6-7 Benaki Street, Athens, Eharcheia

(photos by Mina Selimou © )

The formidable coffee-grinder
TAF - inside

Christos on the making!
Filter magic!

Filter magic 2