Photography by Filep Motwary
Thank You Elli Lori
Dear iDEALS, Speaking of Heroes and Monsters, here's my recent conversation with Theo-Mass Lexileictous
FilepMotwary: The web has been bombed again recently with your new episode announcement. What will the new episode be about?
Theo-MassLexileictous: The Ultimate Acceptance. It is the Fifth episode in the line, and the first episode of the Second Chapter. The First Chapter, which consisted of four episodes, it was all about me trying to conquer the world, in a way of making my existence known to the world while exploring the concept of power in my work. On this Second Chapter the story goes back to its roots. I’m exploring the main reasons of becoming this character; Theo-Mass Lexileictous. It mainly explores the concept of what happens when the alter-ego overpowers ego. When The Ultimate Acceptance episode will launch officially, the first picture to be revealed is an appropriation of Michelangelo’s sculpture ‘Pieta’ that is in the Vatican. Instead of Mother Mary who is holding the body of Jesus, it will be Theo-Mass, holding the dead body of Alexis, my ego. It is a symbolization of how the alter-ego overpowered ego. The Ultimate Acceptance generally explores the consequences of this concept.
FM: Why do you choose to go backwards?
TML: It came naturally. When the fourth episode, the Planetary Alignment, was finished I was in depression. The things that I passed in just a year ended up as a pressure. The whole thing was becoming more and more demanding and I was demanding more things from myself.
TML: Both. I was feeling this pressure because I wanted to offer to my audience something new and I was quite lost last June-July. The Planetary Alignment episode ended up like that so I sat down and asked myself why it is all these happening to me. Why am I depressed. Why am I doing what I’m doing. Why have I mutated into this being. I started going back to the roots of the story and tried to translate what I’m doing.
FM: Why do you separate your work in chapters, to begin with?
TML: It is a different story every time. It is like presenting the development of my work in this way. Each episode has its own story to tell.
FM: This time you have chosen to work with Rein Vollenga, Patrick Ian Hartley and Void Of Course. What do they have in common in such extent to stimulate your own creativity- or to include them in this episode?
TML: They have nothing in common.
TML: Exactly. All these designers have sent their masks and headpieces that I wore for the Ultimate Acceptance episode. It was such a great thing to wear those masks. I was feeling completely different when wearing Rein Vollenga’s pieces and when wearing Patrick Ian Hartley’s pieces for example. When I was wearing Rein Vollenga’s pieces I was feeling like a sci-fi movie character that escaped the screen. When Void Of Course’s masks covered my face I was feeling more sexual- maybe because of the leather and the aesthetic of Void Of Course and the S&M thing. When wearing Patrick Ian Hartley’s pieces, it was like experiencing causes of trauma and a fake plastic surgery- because of the transformation that your face has when wearing Patrick’s pieces. I was feeling uncomfortable because it is the only piece that I wore and had my face revealed. Patrick’s facial apparels are made by transparent materials so my face was both transformed and revealed. It was a completely different feeling comparing to the masks by the other designers. But all designers were chosen for these reasons. The Ultimate Acceptance shoot has some vague diverse images within the story. With these designers, the story blends nicely.
FM: How many parts does episode five has? Is it depending on the designer?
TML: I am a comic book escapee. I escape the comic book and whatever the comic book says it becomes my mission to make it in reality. So that depends on me. If I manage to fulfill my desires and complete my missions, or whatever the episode says, then the episode is done and I am moving on to the next one. I don’t know from now, but I think it is going to last for three months. That is the deadline I gave myself because then I have to move on to the next episode. It will be the development of The Ultimate Acceptance episode. I have some more collaborations coming for this episode. Now I am collaborating with Alex Mattson, who is designing an outfit and a mask for this episode so I will have a custom made mask and costume.
FM: Performance is an art of creativity which you have been serving since the Theo-Mass character was first created. Are there any other forms you wish to explore in the short-coming future and put them in the context of Theo-Mass?
TML: Actually many forms of art. But video is one of those art forms that I want to explore because the main concept is to transfer myself into a two-dimensional world. Although I did some videos, it is something that I really want to push further. To have my own input in the video. Another art form is sculpture.
TML: It is something that is going to come from me. It’s something that I’m working and developing at the moment but there are so many things that I had to work on at the same time. When you are busy working on the main elements of the story then you don’t have time to concentrate on other things as well.
FM: Your name, ‘Theo-Mass Lexileictous’ is very striking in that for most people it will sound indeed like a comic’s character. I think perhaps is even stronger in relation to a series of work which avoids vocabulary. There are a few words in each of your episodes, but there is a lot of black, leather, silk, metal. Would you be inclined to say that material act as a kind of replacement for words in your system?
TML: For the First Chapter, episodes One to Four, all garments were made out of materials such as latex, plastic, neoprint and metal. Contemporary materials. For this Chapter and especially on this episode, everything changes and becomes more couture look. Theo-Mass’s silhouette is becoming more elegant. This is a change I wanted to experience because on the previous episodes my pieces were more experimental. For example the MUGLER jacket that was created at SHOWstudio, it is a normal tuxedo covered in latex, glitters, paint, nylon- so it became more theatrical after this creative process and the interventions of Nicola Formichetti and Romain Kremer. Most of the pieces used on the previous chapter had the element of theatricality. Now I want to change this fact and make it more of a couture silhouette.
FM: So episode Five is an official interaction with fashion. Fashion enters your character.
TML: Although fashion was a principal element on the previous episodes as well, on this chapter and on this episode specifically the character is going to look more elegant. But by using masks, headpieces and custom made pieces, the look is more ‘Theo-Mass’. But I still keep some elements, for example I will never change my color, I will always be black, even my hands are still covered in black latex gloves. These are standards. I’m just developing the whole thing instead of changing completely and moving to a different set.
FM: Who is your audience? How do you imagine this audience, anyway?
TML: I think my audience is really broad. It is not just the art lovers or fashion lovers. Although it is built-up as a comic book- the character and the story- there are many elements combined together, from art, fashion, street art, anarchy, comics, sci-fi and superheroes. I think it takes audiences from the art world, the fashion world, the cinema- it is very broad. What I find interesting is that when discussing with people that are not into art, or relevant with art, and they ask me about my work, everyone gets excited when I explain them about the story and generally what I do. I think this is because of the structure of the story because it is in human nature to be inspired by the unusual. I think all these elements and all these worlds that I manage to put into my story and work with, make the story have a bigger audience.
FM: Does this mean that you don’t believe in states of being? Do you believe in God, in any religion? Do you believe in anything? In terms of your connection with this audience.
TML: If you translate ‘Theo-Mass’ in Greek, ‘Theo’ means God, and ‘Mass’ is for the masses. Theo-Mass is the ‘God of the masses’. That is his aim. The name has a power on its own and this is what I want to achieve through that. Rather than being an art’s character or an artist, or a performance artist, this character is builted on a broader sense. I don’t want to label my work because I want it to be broader and approach more people instead of just the art’s people.
FM: What’s next for Theo-Mass?
TML: Things are happening so quickly and so unexpectedly. One thing leads to another. I want to explore the concept of the alter-ego overpowering ego, and see where this will take me. I don’t know what is going to happen if I manage to kill myself and make Theo-Mass the real ‘me’. It’s something that intrigues me, and pushes me further and I want to try more things out of this concept. This is how my work is developing. Next I’m going to explore the injection of blank ink into my body, and the process of tattooing. I’m going to start becoming black once and for all. For real. Everything in the story it’s happening in reality. I will not go to the tattoo centre and start making my back black. It will be a performance. This is something that I’m working on at the moment but I want it to be perfect and be done in the right way. There won’t be a step back. Once I will do it, it will be done. After that I don’t know where all these will take me.
FM: I wish you the best.
TML: Thank you so much Filep.