BLACK & WHITE
Undoubtely, one of the main characteristics of modern civilization is its total, unconditional surrender to the riveting power of image. Its total dominance has overcome national and geographical boundaries, cultural and religious limitations, moral and ethical convensions of every kind. Image has more or less become the exclusive medium to convey a message, undermining in most occasions even speech, which has always been an essential part of human expression. Man is dangerously prone to reach the point where thinking ceases to be conveyed through speech and is devolving to its primal form of expression, the use of images.
In this era of cataclysmic change, image has been established as an indispensable element of everyday life. It aspires to satisfy man's need for expression, communication, information, documentation, even creation; consequently, the need to redefine the role of painting in contemporary societies becomes more and more urgent. In esssence, in a routine that entails a bombardment of information and the overconsumption of imagery, the art of painting is being presented with the ultimate challenge, that is, to redefine its own nature, confronting even the possibility of being unable to redefine its identity and function, facing the peril of ending up obsolete.
Thus, one of the main issues of debate within the artworld today refers to the role of painting in the present era of image. Will we be witnessing the demise of painting, taking place in the era of omnipotent images?
The ways in which painting makes its suggestions, in an effort to reformulate and fight the ultimate battle for its own survival, seem to be diverse and many of them don't seem to lack boldness and honesty of intentions pursuing a daring approach to the problem. They often concur in suggesting the very reestablishment and radical reconsideration of its own essence. Non figurative painting, having already completed a very important course in the art scene during the 20th century, suggests the utter reform of the character of artistic expression, by totally dismantling depiction, in order for painting not to be crushed by the contradiction with the image's uncomparable power of depiction in ways that it is available to us nowadays, being easily accesible in our daily routines through the use of technology's magnificent accomplishments.
On the other hand, the (re)emerging trend in the past few years dictates the emphatic return of figurative painting, whether enriching the figurative dynamics through the use of complex, conceptual endeavors, bringing a whole new focus on the context or returning to a more contemporary realism which stands out promptly from our daily imagery. Being of outmost importance, color, in the hands of contemporary painters, is led to be a crucial factor of attraction in to the eyes of the audience, often serving an expressionistic function, thus transforming painting surfaces into a parallel reality, where everything explodes, achieving the artistic overture that renders every other surrounding imagery insignificant, frail.
Under these circumstances, what could possibly be the role of an alternative, a painting that dennounces color? Could it probably coincide with another hopeful, dynamic proposition, or it is doomed to exhile since it steers clear of one of artistic creations' fundamental element? Color, seems to have evolved to a mandatory prerequisite in the contest for audience's preference.
This is the point where, I reckon, lies the very importance of the exhibition 'Black & White'. In essence, it is a bold and daring proposal for our times, one that attempts to refocus on a concept of painting in which the absence of color invites the audience to discover new values that lately have been overcome, even devoured, by the constant stream of color technological progress has showered us with.
Nevertheless, this exhibition aims to remind us that great painting lies in the artistry of drawing, where decomposition is alligned with the disclosure of essence, beyond any possible deviations color might offer. It is the painting that rejects comfort for essence, prefers the lyrism of necessity to the exquisite of excess, the difficulty of the cerebral to the hedonistic tradition of the coloristic sensations.
I don't think it would be far fetched to claim that, this painting can recollect from our collective subconcious archetype dipoles, such as: light-dark, day-night, beggining-end, good-evil, and, in the end, life-death. Beyond its atistic merits, the true importance of this exhibition, I think, lies in precisely this subconcious reference to what is essential, original, and in final analysis, true. It pleads to our basic instincts that compose our own psyche and the way we perceive the world. Of course, under no circumstances the magnitude of this exhibition should prevent us from seeing what is really important; it is about a proposal that testifies an alternative of significant artistic valor, worth and content. The lack of color does not, by any means, equal to weakness of expression, whereas it constitutes a conscious choice, in order to dillute the artistic expression of great artists. It only takes a glance at the unsettling humanism of Jean Rustin's drawings, the academic perfection of Andrea Martinelli, Uta Siebert's visionary atmosphere or the accessible monumentality of Vassilis Poulios and the touching attention to detail by Aspasia Krystalla, but also the rest of the artists whose works are hosted in the museum's premises, in order to comprehend the fact that one stands in front of works full of dynamic and effective illustration. After all, the extent of the exhibition attests to the severity and the thoroughness of this endeavor, to which the most righteous judge is, as always, the audience.
Christina Sotiropoulou, Curator at the Frissiras Museum
”Black & White”
March 2, 2011- July 31, 2011
Nowadays, when painting seems to consist mostly of color, graphic design, and illustration, and its aesthetics have penetrated the collective visual subconsciousness, organizing an exhibition like 'Black and White' which emphasizes on the visual economy, the artistic self control and the expressional nudity, seems an extremely risky, almost utopic gesture.
However, a closer look is enough to justify the noble ambitions that underlie this seemingly out of place and time venture; Faith in the power of an alternative, but at the same time so primal visual expression, which eludes the fascinations of color thanks to the dynamic simplicity of form and the allure of the essential.
The exhibition “Black & White” aims to project, through paintings and drawings based on the bipolarity of these two archetype colors, the beauty of flawless art that knows how to rely on its own virtues and strengths, opting to address the viewer with honesty and directness.
Indeed, internationally renowned artists such as: J.Rustin, D. Hockney, A. Segui, E. Arroyo. a.o., through their works presented in this exhibition, that have been voluntarily striped of color and its effects in order to be judged for their very substance of artistic excellence. Younger artists such as B. Roig, A. Tinei, V. Poulios, Th. Makris, a.o., do not hesitate to succumb, stripped of color's aid, to the audience's judgement. In total, they set up of a unique exhibition that constitutes a dynamic proposal ras far as painting in the dawn of the 21st century is concerned
The 68 European artists that participate in this exhibition are: Amarantos Michalis, Vaviloussakis Konstantinos, Valavanidis Giannis, Varelas Giannis, Veroukas Alexis, Daskalakis Stefanos, Kapralos Christos, Katraki Vasso, Kerestenzis Kostas, Kessanlis Nikos, Knithaki Korina, Kontellis Andreas, Kristalla Aspasia, Kiriazi Pelagia, Lappas Giorgis, Litti Afroditi, Makris Thanassis, Manoussakis Michalis, Markidis Christos, Baikas Nikos, Beltekos Panagiotis, Bitsikas Xenofon, Botsoglou Chronis, Moraiti Eleni, Daoulas Konstantinos, Papakostas Achilleas, Patraskidis Triantafillos, Peirounidis Apostolos, Pistonis Achilleas, Poulios Vassilis, Ratsikas Dimitris, Sacaillan Edouard, Skoulakis Dimosthenis, Soulis Vassilis, Spiliopoulos Marios, Spuropoulos Giorgos, Stamatiadi Daniella, Tataris Dimitris, Tsakali Anna-Maria, Chouliaras Nikos, Tsakiris Antonis, Christakis Tassos, Christoforou John, Psichopaidis Giannis, Adami Valerio, Andrea Pat, Arroyo Edouard, Auerbach Frank, DADO, Hockney David, Ksiazek Bogumil, Leglise Frederic, Loutz Frederique, Maciejovski, Martinelli Andrea, Pasieka Simon, Rego Paula, Roig Bernardi, Rustin Jean, Segui Antonio, Schauwecker Mathias, Siebert Uta, Szafran Sam, Attila Szűcs, Tadashi Imai, Tinei Alexander, Tift Andrew, Vermeersch Jose