Six years ago artist Alexis Themistocleous presented his first solo exhibition – “From Evolution to Revolution” – at the Morfi Gallery, in Limassol, Cyprus. Themistocleous explored then the possibilities offered by cloning and the consequences of faulty experiments, turning the gallery space into the “G.M.” laboratory, a genetic testing laboratory crammed with incubators with fetuses inside. As the years passed Themistocleous developed an entire story, entitled “A Superhero Is Born”, that moved from that first exhibition and revolved around his own genetic mutation into fashionably anarchic superhero, Theo-Mass Lexileictous.
An anagram of Alexis Themistocleous – with a name that can be translated as “The God of the Masses” (“Theo” refers to the Greek word “Θεός”, “God”), Theo-Mass is indeed the mutation of a scientist, brought to life after a toxic explosion, during the “From Evolution to Revolution” cloning experiment that also caused the mutation of the fetuses preserved in the incubators into monsters, the so-called freaks. Theo-Mass has recently printed his own currency – the Theo-Mass dollars – and, in an attempt to gain financial power, he will soon be travelling to London, New York and Paris to bring his insanity to the masses.
Dazed Digital: Who is Theo-Mass Lexileictous?
Alexis Themistocleous: A superhero who escaped from a comic book and, leaving its pages blank, is currently living in the real world, looking for possible ways to go back to a 2-D form. The fact that Theo-Mass Lexileictous never existed in the real world, allows him to behave in the way he was acting in the comic book, with no logic and no sense of which actions are allowed in real life.
DD: In which ways does the story of this super hero have anything to do with fashion or style?
Alexis Themistocleous: Fashion plays a vitally important role in this story since Theo-Mass’s appearances are meant to surprise the audience and create an extraordinary experience, this is why his garments, headpieces and props are really important. Each episode is the continuation of the previous one, so Theo-Mass’s costumes change constantly. For the first episode all costumes and headpieces were custom-made for all the appearances and shoots; apart from these special pieces, in the second episode Theo-Mass will be collaborating with several new and talented designers as well as with renowned brands.
DD: Will we see any books about Theo-Mass soon?
Alexis Themistocleous: Once we will reach a number of episodes that have been photographed, we will release the first fashionable and arty superhero comic book. I want the Theo-Mass Lexileictous comic book to be something more than just another comic book, but a fantastic story with beautiful and inspiring images. I would like it to be drenched in fashion with all the scenes photographed rather than drawn.
DD: What’s your favourite sci-fi book/film?
Alexis Themistocleous: I like several sci-fi books and films, each one for different reasons, but my inspiration for creating Theo-Mass Lexileictous doesn’t really come from any existing comic books and sci-fi films but mainly from fashion photographers, stylists and creatives such as Nick Knight, Ruth Hogben, Pierre Debusschere, Robbie Spencer, Panos Yiapanis and many more. They are all great inspirations to me.
DD: Your works also appeared in the recent “ARRRGH! Monsters in Fashion” at the Benaki Museum, can you tell us more about the pieces you did for this exhibition?
Alexis Themistocleous: I exhibited at the museum the outfits for Theo-Mass’s freaks, so the mutated fetuses that escaped their incubators after the explosion. Theo-Mass actually made his first ever appearance in front of a big audience during the “ARRRGH!” exhibition.
DD: Can you give us a preview of the next Theo-Mass episode?
Alexis Themistocleous: The next episode is about Theo-Mass trying to conquer the world and is entitled “My power is beyond your understanding”. The plot revolves around Theo-Mass training 50 soldiers from around the globe. The best two soldiers will become the T-M-L Marshalls and will accompany him during his appearances.
DD: Will Theo-Mass be using his special currency in his future appearances?
Alexis Themistocleous: The Theo-Mass dollars represent a symbol of power in the story. His currency will be sent in briefcases to creatives based all over the globe who have the power of turning him into a 2-D character. Theo-Mass Dollars will also be used during public appearances. The superhero will be blowing it away, using money as a symbol of property, authority and power, but also tackling in this way issues of commercialism.
DD: Will Theo-Mass be visiting the main fashion capitals then?
Alexis Themistocleous: Of course. He will be everywhere. Appearances will take place in public spaces such as Trafalgar Square, Oxford Street, Covent Garden, Fifth Avenue, Times Square, Avenue des Champs-Élysées and in several designers and photographers’ studios, magazine offices, stores and landmarks in London, Paris and New York as part of the next episode, the “My insanity will become your imagination” world tour that will last for four months.
Photography by Yannis Bournias, Costumes, Props & Masks: Alexis Themistocleous, Make-Up & Hair: Vassilis Stratigos, Jackets: Sotiris Georgiou, Collaboration: Dimitra Spyropoulou, Make Up Assistant: Dimitris Christodoulou, Retouching: Stella Andronikou