Cover image of the review
Traianos Pakioufakis, *Exofilla*, 2021, 6 billboards, 250x250 cm each. The Substation, Newport. Photo: Ben Hosking

Traianos Pakioufakis, Exofilla

6 Nov 2021
The SUBSTATION 14 Sep - 14 Nov 2021

Traianos Pakioufakis’s billboards caught my eye while I was passing on a bus: a flash of blue in my peripheral vision that had me turning to figure out what I’d just missed. They face a cycle path, beyond which lie a railway and a busy road, so stray glimpses must be all that many people ever get of them. Not in my case, though. I ventured back on foot for a closer look and was glad I did, the threat of passing cyclists notwithstanding.

The six square billboards line up against the side wall of the Substation, like escapees from an Instagram account that have just been apprehended. Each combines a photo with an upright colour band along one edge, a device that creates cohesion within the group and links it lightly to the structure of the wall behind. The photos show a range of subjects, which have a loose coherence of their own. Three are of ceramic vessels, two are close-ups of patterned surfaces (paving stones and what is possibly a painted wall) and the last shows wildflowers in front of an embankment. The flowers are by no means outliers: a bouquet bursts from one of the ceramics, foliage crowds in behind some others. The last of the ceramics has a spherical white body that echoes the abstraction of the close-ups.

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