Kostis Velonis is inspired by ephemeral shepherds’ diaries and almanacs such as forecasts and notes on astronomical and meteorological data for the coming year, as well as trivia around agricultural cultivation and rural life. In his recent large-scale sculptural installations which formed part of ‘Straw Falling on Concrete Floors’ organized by the '2023 Eleusis Cultural Capital of Europe', the artist confronted the challenges of the historical tradition of the city of Elefsina (Eleusis) through an amalgam of ecological and mythological narratives merging natural elements such as straw, animal nests and a submerged tree, with ancient Greek myths around fertility. For the exhibition 'Almanach des bergers', Velonis continues to pursue his interest in the interconnection between nature and culture, looking at how the erosion caused by weather elements may affect personal mood while global socio-political shifts are enforced by the climate crisis.
The gallery’s space is occupied by a large-scale sculptural installation that recreates the conditions of a gathering of shepherds consisting of hay bales and marble slabs. Much like a displaced environment in urban culture, it functions as a symbol of rural community raising questions around our relationship with nature anew. It invites the visitor to reflect upon man's connection with earth and the 'moods' of weather and to engage critically around human interaction with the natural environment. Meteorological fluctuations and the 'plasticity' of weather, the elements that make up the almanac of rural life, are mirrored here in a new series of wooden wall-works placed close to each other with references to season, month and the length of the day. Installed mainly in pairs, these aim to highlight the transition from one season to another, the succession of months and the alternation of day to night. Velonis's works return to an ongoing existential narrative related to the natural cycle of life and our relationship with earth's soil. These painting-sculptures, presented for the first time in the exhibition, reflect the artist's wider intention to formulate an artistic idiom that balances between the pastoral and the modern.