Central to Pittas’ practice is the question of how the past relates to the present, and vice versa. Moments of destruction, decay and resistance from history play an important role in this. He explores topics such as security and control, economic crises and acts of resistance, as well as violence and vandalism. More of a viewer than an “activist”, Pittas mainly researches how historical events and social movements repeat themselves throughout history. The concept of ‘recycling history’, both as contemporizing history and historicizing the contemporary, is used as a methodology to create awareness of our own contemporary assumptions and positions.
The imagery of modernism and of the historical avant-garde is an important frame of reference within his work, including Bauhaus, De Stijl and Russian Constructivism. Pittas traces the (visual) characteristics and properties, in particular the symbolism, that emerged from this period and examines how it has acquired new forms and meanings throughout history and still takes place today. As a result, a trans-historical perspective is mapped out.
His research-based approach leans on the idea that utopian ideology (including modernism) can easily turn into their opposite, leading to destruction, oppression and an affirmation of power and authority. By exposing these dynamics, the work offers space for thinking and reflection, both on history and the present.