In California Dreamin, Bill Balaskas is inspired by the history of Rio Vista in order to create a site-specific installation that reflects on utopianism and its underlying ideologies. Through a variety of references to California as the foremost embodiment of the American Dream, the artist examines the enduring influence of capitalist spectacle on collective imagination. The ironic-yet-playful language of the works appears to suggest that the therapeutic effects of our utopian impulses can only be felt if we are willing to adopt a more critical view on the socioeconomic systems that give shape to our dreams.
Bill Balaskas was born in 1983 in Thessaloniki, Greece, where he studied economics before moving to the UK in order to study art. His background has significantly influenced his artistic practice, especially ever since the outbreak of the global financial crisis of 2008 that seriously affected his home country. Since 2005, he is a London-based artist working across different media. He is currently a PhD candidate in the programme of Critical Writing in Art & Design of the Royal College of Art and he holds an MA from the same college. His works have been widely exhibited internationally, in more than 100 solo and group exhibitions. He has received nominations for several awards, including the AUDI Art Award for the most innovative young artist in 2013. In 2012, he represented the UK in the London Cultural Olympiad and in Maribor, the European Capital of Culture. Furthermore, he has presented work in special curated sections at Art Basel Miami Beach, Art Basel Hong Kong, Art Cologne and Art Brussels, amongst others, and his works have been regularly featured in major international publications such as Frieze, The Art Newspaper, Le Monde, Domus, Third Text and Espoarte. In addition to his artistic practice, Bill Balaskas is an awarded writer as well as an editor for the Leonardo Electronic Almanac (The MIT Press). In the last few years, he has given public talks about his work at the University of Oxford, the 11th Sharjah Biennial, Tate Liverpool, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Central Saint Martins and the Victoria & Albert Museum. The main ideas encountered in his practice are irony, humour and the subversion of spectacle, through the fuse of which he explores subjects with a strong political character.
Represented by: Kalfayan Galleries Athens – Thessaloniki