The logo of Aeroporti di Puglia was inspired by an artwork of Stephen Antonakos, whose title is “Horizon”.

The conception of “Horizon” responds to a spirit of upward movement and at the same time communicates this spirit, both visually and emotionally. If sections and subsections of the new terminal with its rectilinear shapes can be defined as the urban architecture, the group of triangular skylights that crown the building recall, in a way, the profile of an old village as Alberobello with its conical trulli. According to the artist, this nature of the diagonal is not only a formal counterpoint, since it also gives the sense of history and human aspiration. In his art, the artist always tries to find a dynamic of complementarity with the architecture. He conceives his sculptural ideas in relation to the formal characteristics and aesthetics of the building and the surroundings. It is never the intention to decorate that guides him, the artist prefers to offer, creating a dialogue between the artwork and its architectural structure, a vivid sensory experience.

The use of color does not follow the intentions of symbolic representation. My choice is in fact determined by the particular qualities of neon.

The pure neon is red color and it is the strongest colour in this medium.

Green is the color with greater spatial character, it also radiates in space more than any other color.

The single blue line is just a necessary rhythmic accent.

The artwork was created and installed by the company Astra Neon Ltd. from Bari.


From “Public Art”

“First, I am a formalist: my work uses very old, basic geometric forms: circles, squares, straight and wavy lines.   This does not come from theory: they are just the forms I like and which I find, working with neon, to be as full of promise and excitement to me as when I started. When I use incomplete forms, it is to accentuate what is always present in the work: the inclusion of the surrounding space into to the work, into its visual perception of the forms and into the kinetic experience of the scullpture as the viewer moves around and sees it from different angles and from different distances. 

The forms are linear, but it is an inescapable fact that light is spatial. We can measure a certain form, yes, but at different hours of the day or evening the colored glows will penetrate the spaces around them to greater or smaller degrees, depending upon the amount of natural or other light in the area. At night the neon is most intense, burning the images in blackness. During strong daylight, the neon may approach  invisibility and the colored forms themselves are seen concretely — and, importantly, in clear relation to the forms of the architecture and its setting. 

This may be the “rational” or “factual” view, contrasted to the dramatic intensity of the night view. But these are only the two extremes: it is all the various gradations of natural light as dawn breaks and as evening falls – or whenever the weather darkens or brightens during the day – that many new aspects of the art may be sensed. For these reasons, there is really no singlular view of the work that is better than another: I want people to experience my work in all possible variations of light.
This experience is very different from that of traditional art which is framed in a particular measurable area separate from the viewer’s. My work extends into the actual space in which people may be standing or walking. This idea, that the art and the viewer share the same space is very important to me, because it is my hope that this will allow the work to become part of people’s inner experience, that consciously or unconsciously the feelings and senses that make each of us distinct and unique may be engaged in a deeper way. Even though this is “public art” it is my hope to reach and awaken something inside which each person will experience his or her own individual way.

With each new work, I start with the site itself, the forms, proportions, and the materials of the architecture and how it relates to its site and the space around it. Also, of course its function and the “spirit” of the site are very important.  With “ORIZZONTE” there are some special opportunities: people will see the work both arriving and departing -very different emotional states. Then, they will see it from far and near, from still positions and moving. It is very exciting to me that viewers will be able to experience this work from the air – from great heights to immediately near the airport building. 

I like very much that a work like this helps to identify the building and the experience of “hello” and “goodbye” to Bari – and I am  happy too that this whole  project engages the idea of the “edge”. I have called this two-part work “ORIZZONTE” not only because it exists just where the earth touches the air, but also where people actually flyup into the sky and of course come back to the ground from above the clouds. Moreover, this “edge” for me is not only physical, but part of our inner experience, as we move from stillness to motion and vice versa, where we move our bodies ourselves contrasted to moving in a vehicle – the whole set of relationships between the spaces of the world and our inner spaces. 

Usually, with each new project that I do, I find very quickly the location, or a few places, where I want to situate the art.  Then, I have to think very carefully and work out all the sensitive relationships of color, shape, scale, and proportions. Working in respect to the architecture is crucial, and so is the concern with the spaces around and above the building. Each element affects everything else and all the elements of the art must relate internally to each other, to the whole of the art, to the architecture, and to the surrounding spaces.

While I call myself a formalist and am very happy when I feel that I have found the best arrangement of forms, the ones that “activate” the site the most – this  is of course not the whole story. Form is like technique: it can be carried to magnificent heights of refinement and innovation.  Without this formal clarity, I cannot feel that the work can succeed.  But there is much much more that is possible for us to see, to sense kinetically and emotionally. It is impossible to say what viewers may think and feel in response to any work of art, but it is my hope in general that my work stands for openness, for the possibility of a high consciousness of the immediate moment, the here and now, of the great, mysterious, enlivening sense of being at the edge of what is already known, and being aware that there is more”.   

Stephen Antonakos