Vasilis Angelopoulos creates Dark artworks made of paraffin and oil on canvas mixed up with ash and soil in order to create and reproduce non iconic deities and abstract concepts.
Vasilis Angelopoulos creates Dark artworks made of paraffin and oil on canvas mixed up with ash and soil in order to create and reproduce non iconic deities and abstract concepts. These are all very much in line with the current fashion for making abstract art out of a material (if not a religious) substance, and they have often been interpreted as a return of the sacred to the realm of the visible. In fact, their effects are highly ambivalent, as if the artists were questioning the very possibility of attaining a spiritual or spiritual presence by means of material things. The objects in the show have a certain dignity, as if they had been created for a funeral, and the effect of their richness and ineffability makes it impossible to imagine that they could not be grave. They seem to ask to be buried, but they also suggest that their status as objects of veneration is already marked by the fact that they have a kind of patina that can be sensed even in their age. The dark paraffin pieces in the show are of a special quality, as are the black-gold pieces, which have the same age-appropriable aura as the material that gave them birth. The latter pieces, although not quite as old as the black-gold ones, still carry the same aura of mystery, but in the new works, Vasilis has gone a step further in creating a material, even architectural, environment in which the works are visible and tactile, while still retaining the capacity to be very dark. In other words, the black-gold pieces can be looked at from a distance and can be thought of as sculptures, while the white pieces are very much to be looked at from a distance and can be felt as something of a relief.In the other works in the show, Vasilis has focused on the creation of a visual experience. He has created what might be called a conceptual wall piece. In the show it is possible to walk through the space of a wooden construction that is divided into three parts, and that, through the presence of an image, is thus transformed into a three-dimensional object.
The works are, by nature, sculptural objects, and their meaning is generated by their materiality. In one work, a portion of a fish is cut in half, so that the half-filled half is hidden under a bowl. In another work, a pair of scissors has been placed on top of a pile of earth. On a third piece, a sheet of copper sandpaper has been torn into the shape of a Y, the shape of a bottle, and half of a stone has been placed in the sand, creating a ziggurat form. The work is called The Lost Symbol, but it is not a symbol, but a curious reflection on a dream, a dream of memory and forgetting.The works are an attempt to conjure and symbolize the unconscious, to make it visible in its potentiality. But they do not go beyond a dream, they do not represent the unconscious as a general condition of man. They are manifestly an illustration of a dream, and it is this dream that drives the works of the artist.
Vasilis Angelopoulos creates Dark artworks made of paraffin and oil on canvas mixed up with ash and soil in order to create and reproduce non iconic deities and abstract concepts. By applying a post-Modernist vocabulary of techniques, from color theory to self-taught drawing, to this popular and ahistorical element of esthetics, Pasolini has created a new mythological landscape. The artists use of the vernacular, and the fact that the vernacular has been reified as art, is one of the main points of departure for Pasolini. The works are what one might call cross-culturally, although Pasolini makes no pretense of being a culturally aware artist.The exhibition consisted of nine paintings, four which depict figures from the artists life, and three of which were paintings. The first two paintings are fairly conventional, combining a stylized realism with an abstract, geometric depiction of nature. In the third painting, the artist depicts himself as a tree, the tree standing in front of a landscape and the sun. In the middle painting, the sun is hidden by a dark-green hill and is seen in the upper part of the canvas as a stylized tree.The other two paintings, from 1987 and 1988, incorporate a new vocabulary of abstract forms. In the first painting, a man and woman are seen from the waist down, in a nude female body. They are both seated, and their buttocks are covered by womens skirts. In the second painting, they are shown from above, and their faces are covered by a bunch of white paper. The subjects legs are placed beneath the skirts, and their hands are placed behind their back, suggesting that they are both bound and free. The third painting is a reversal of the first two, in which the figures are shown from above and below, but the women are bound and free.The paintings are the result of various trips to the countryside, and Pasolini traveled here several times in order to make the paintings, during which time he took notes and photographs of his surroundings.
His is a quest for the fundamental essence of the natural world and of man. He has created paintings in the spirit of the Egyptian civilization that can be understood as icons, and to this end he has painted a series of murals depicting the deities of the Nile. Their black-and-white image seems like a condensed version of the worst memories: a clear, vivid, and beautiful image of the dead.In another series of paintings, Vasilis Angelopoulos combines images of the night sky with a photograph of a model, showing him in the studio with the paintings. The model is a sculpted figure, sitting on a bed and looking at the viewer. He is painted in the colors of the sky and the desert, and the black-and-white stripes of the canvas are reminiscent of the striped bandana worn by Egyptian women. The artist has covered the paintings with a white cloth and left the work unclothed, which, together with the scarred skin of the head, is alluding to the violence of the past. In the series of murals, the arms and legs of the figures are severed, except for the right one, which is cut by the right hand. The artist has also left the pencil where it falls off the paper. These are paintings of a painting, the artist says. The work is a reflection on the violence and trauma of the past, a reflection on our ability to transform the past into a representation of the present.
His Black Hand Sign and Spider Sign, both 1987, are still lifes of this world; they are almost exactly the same as the originals. In the recent installation The Black Hand Sign, 1989, Vasilis Angelopoulos made the original paintings with the help of a blacksmith and a blacksmith apprentice. He then translated them into this strange material and, using a blacksmiths drill, cut them into his hand. The drawings were then put on display in a small room, along with a small copy of the original paintings. This piece is a mixture of beautiful and frightening. The artist was able to transmute his own works into something completely alien to him; they become something that is very disturbing, perhaps even dangerous. In Vasilis Angelopoulos work, we feel that we are part of this strange world, but we are also at risk of losing our sense of self.