"I.d " Mira Gallery Melbourne 2001

            © May 2011 George Alamidis
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Exhibition Essay

"Even though Australians rejected the concept of the ID card, we understand the desire of the state and corporate business to monitor us with or without a standardised card. Here is a collection of Identity cards, from a country whose people had no choice, all are Greek and all originate from the same period, the late 1940's and early 1950's. Post war Greece was in turmoil; as if its poverty was not enough the political nightmare of civil war heightened government determination to control its people. The ID card signified captivity. Greeks were living in a military state where all activity and movement was controlled and regulated. You could not travel from one village to another without your ID card. Long before the invention of the barcode, the invention of photography marked the threshold into the modem bureaucratic state. With its earliest application in the penitentiary as the mug shot, keeping record of the face had come to picture every citizen as an incarcerated criminal. If the id, as described by Freud, desires to have every drive and urge immediately satisfied regardless of undesirable effects, then the state enforces the ID card to keep the id in check. Like an externalised superego the ID card keeps the self captive, regulated and under control.
  ID cards that have survived from the 1940's and 1950's belong to those who made the great
escape from Greece. The renewal of these cards meant the destruction of the old one, there could only be one ID to each person. This would point to the most likely possibility that these cards were accumulated outside of Greece from those who immigrated to places such as Australia and the USA before the conversion to the plastic covered card."

Evangelos Sakaris, June 2001

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"I.D.": Exhibition

  "What do you call an artist who specializes in making Identification Cards? Artist as
 functionary? A very brave person? Or a stupid one? Cos the truth of the situation is that they're the first person you go to when the political situation gets so bad and you need a way out; and  the only one you want shot-dead straight after getting your new identity; cos they're the only ones who can positively identify you as a fake!
            What do you call an artist who specializes in creating fakes? And what do you call a person who creates a lot of them, and all of them of himself; Schizophrenic? These are some of the questions that draw me to Alamidis's work. It is often said, that an artist only ever creates one canvas in their life time, i.e. that of themselves!, and i think that George has done that! Or  at least a fragment of that".

Click to view the essay (PDF).