Yorgos Efthymiadis: The Curated Fridge – Seven Years Later
A few weeks ago, I found myself in the kitchen and backyard of Yorgos Efthymiadis in Somerville, Massachusetts, for the opening of the most recent edition of The Curated Fridge. It was a hot summer night with covid nipping at our heels, but it didn’t stop the celebration. The artists in attendance got a chance to talk about their work and connect with other photographers while sipping cocktails and snacking on an array of offerings. I was struck by how this wonderful effort creates community in the most authentic way.
I met Yorgos ten years ago at the Flash Forward Festival in Boston and we’ve been friends ever since. I have been lucky enough to be a juror for the Curated Fridge, participate as an artist, and also hosted a west coast version of TCF on my refrigerator in Los Angeles.
The effort began in 2015 when Yorgos created a gallery in his own kitchen and titled it The Curated Fridge (Crusade for Art Engagement Grant Finalist, Winner of the Popular Vote). The idea behind this project is to celebrate fine art photography and connect photographers around the world. There is a guest curator for every show which run on a quarterly basis, free of charge.
An interview with Yorgos follows.
Yorgos Efthymiadis is an artist/curator from Greece who resides in Somerville, MA, and a board member of Somerville Arts Council. He was a Critical Mass finalist in 2018, a finalist for the 2017 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship, and a recipient of the St. Botolph Club Foundation 2017 Emerging Artist Award. He has exhibited nationally and internationally and is represented by Gallery Kayafas in Boston.
Follow Yorgos Efthymiadis on Instagram: @yorgosphoto/
Follow The Curated Fridge on Instagram: @
Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us about your growing up, what brought you to Boston and to photography?
I have always been interested in photography in an amateur way, but when I moved to Boston eleven years ago I decided to take it a step further by studying at the New England School of Photography. Having just moved from Greece, my work focused on my surroundings and on the cultural differences between my country of origin and my new found home.
How did you come up with the idea of The Curated Fridge?
After coming back from Photolucida’s portfolio reviews in 2015, I posted a photo of my fridge decorated with all the prints and promos I collected from fellow photographers. The enthusiastic response was the catalyst for the first show, curated by artist Caleb Cole. As the exhibitions multiplied, I realized that The Curated Fridge was different other venues in many ways. From a photographer’s perspective, it’s very democratic and approachable by artists at any level because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. If one makes it on the fridge it’s funny, if not they can shrug it off and move on. From a curator’s point of view, they get to see fresh work that they most likely would never have seen otherwise. On top of that, local curators make their selection by going through actual prints and not jpegs, and are also able to modify the way they usually showcase photography by breaking the linear configuration of a gallery wall.
What keeps you motivated to keep it going? Congrats on 7 years!
Thank you so much, and thank you for being the curator of this special show! I was very humbled by the photographic community because it instantly embraced this alternative and quirky project. In general, I think that people are very appreciative of the fact that they can showcase their work to curators free of charge. Furthermore, during opening receptions, the artists connect with other photographers and discuss their projects. This whole idea about relationships and inclusion is beyond fulfilling to me and keeps me motivated!
Also, through various grants (Crusade for Art, LCC) The Curated Fridge was hosted in local schools in the Boston area. The students learned about editing and sequencing, curated their own show on a magnetic facsimile of the fridge and were prompted to write a small statement about their favorite photograph.
Do you have a favorite exhibition?
All the exhibitions are very special to me, for various reasons, but a couple of them were prominent. The one you curated back in 2016 that travelled to Photoville is one of them, because the fridge was installed under the Brooklyn Bridge. It was totally surreal!
The second is the one that I curated for the 20th show, titled “The Ones That Got Away”. For so many years, I have been archiving all the images that made it on The Curated Fridge. Almost all the rest that were not selected were destroyed, but for some “rejected” ones I had something special in mind. That exhibition consisted of images that previous guest curators, for various reasons, didn’t include in their shows.
How do you juggle your commercial and fine art work with this Curated Fridge initiative?
While it might seem effortless, there is a lot of time and energy behind the scenes of every TCF cycle, from sorting out and replying to emails to maintaining the website and social media. Sometimes it’s a real struggle, especially when it all happens at the same time and I have to meet multiple deadlines with my commercial and fine art work. But then again, miraculously, everything works out!
Are you working on a new project?
My latest project is titled “There Is a Place I Want to Take You” and it’s about an unsettling feeling of non-belonging. Whenever I travel back to my home country, even though I am surrounded by loved ones, I feel like a stranger in a foreign land. I struggle to fit into the place I had consigned to the past in the process of moving on with my life, only to now realize that I have been banished in return. During these round-trips to the past, I try to rediscover what I’ve left behind by retracing the long traveled paths of my memories and photographing places that either remained the same or dramatically changed.
The project consists of three parts: diptychs and polyptychs of landscapes that fabricate a personal geography from fragmented memories; interiors of familiar places from my childhood; and portraits of close friends and loved ones who make me the person I am today.
In addition, a couple of months ago, I had the pleasure of curating “Reconstructed”, an exhibition that explores the ideas of belonging, origins and home by bringing together the work of five photographers who approach this deeply personal subject from different vantage points. There are hopes of making “Reconstructed” a traveling show and adding more photographers to the roster. (If you know of any available spaces that can host the exhibition, please send me an email)
What subjects are you drawn to as an artist?
I would consider myself a landscape photographer who is fascinated by the built environment. I have always been intrigued by the multiple correlations between spaces and buildings. In a sense, photographers have a lot in common with architects: from the way we construct the images in order to form a personal narrative or a structure, to the elements we choose to include or exclude from the frame.
In a yet unreleased body of work, I draw attention to driveways. Most people perceive them as dividers, narrow strips of land that separate buildings. I would like to think that these negative, empty spaces between houses bring people together, creating a common place for interaction.
Who and what is inspiring you lately?
I don’t usually namedrop, so let’s just say that lately I feel in awe of the new wave of young artists who approach photography in a straightforward, uncompromising way. Their work makes me feel non-relevant and paralyzes me but, simultaneously, the whole thing is liberating and allows me to create more work. I hope this somehow makes sense.
Thank you, Yorgos, for all you give to our community. We so appreciate you and The Curated Fridge!
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