Lazaros has painstakingly researched, re-enacted and refreshed languages of superstition long forgotten from day-to-day vernacular. Entities, obsessions, legends and lore — with provenance in places as far as Haiti and as near as the Sanpete Valley — provide the sculptural and performative language displayed in his solo exhibition at UMOCA.
The artist gives us objects that stand between the mind’s eye and lore, which playfully prod the tales of old wives or the Doubting Thomas. The artist states that “when an individual knowingly recreates or re-enacts a particular legend or myth, such singularities can effectively become real through their physicalization. The subsequent belief by a third party that these actions are the real-life manifestation of the legend completes its reality.”
Many of the artworks on view are sourced from verbal descriptions passed down from generations, as if our folkloric sayings were actually instructions for how to make conceptual sculpture. This body of research generates its own sculptural language referencing art movements ranging from Dada and the readymade’s innovator Marcel Duchamp. Considering them as purely sculptural exercises, the absurdity of the forms brings to mind the famous quote that sums up Surrealism as being “the chance meeting on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella.”
In his process, Lazaros' work not only reflects an existing culture of belief, but also reinforces those legends for the viewer. Nevertheless, Lazaros refers to his works as “forgeries” because they are not born from the position of original intent or belief, and because he, as artist, is acting as a perpetrator of a hoax. The objects and the aura they project beg the questions of inherent occult properties. Is it possible to realize an archive of superstition without fearing its total magic?