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Manos Stefanidis: Man falling


There are painters who skillfully paint the obvious. But there are also painters who paint - as they can and as long as they can - what happens behind or beyond things. "The help of the pros" that Alexander would say. The back of the phenomena, the dark side of the Moon. The abyss and its charm. The face as a mask or, more specifically, as a landscape in which everything can happen. Like the crater of an active volcano. One such extreme, and therefore important, painter is Vasilis Soulis. In this third solo exhibition here ten years after the first, in 2009, and only two of the second, in 2017, the artist, now safe from the techniques and / or tricks of his art, can indulge fearless of his insecurities, gaining the aesthetically most appropriate risk. That is, he can paint without protective net, with the fear of vacuum but also with the blessing of real creation. A creation that wants to take a stand on what is happening in the world today and can honestly address the contemporary viewer of this world. That is how it must be done. Art is not a public service, nor is painting a mere decoration, given the rules. Any rule in true creation is formulated after the project is completed. Never before.
Ten years on, then, for a possible title for this section, Vasilis Soulis presents the fruits of his maturation and the extent of his conquests, both in its form and organization and in telling its secrets and "reinventing" it. the emotion a priori has to serve every work of art.
If I were to use a technical term to describe the paintings he showed me in his small, suffocating lab on a rooftop of Palaio Faliro, with the sun outside burning and the colors of his paintings glowing in the light, I would use the word "deconstruction", deconstruction.
Because, where his earlier paintings were dominated by the robust design of the concept of structure, Soulis now seems to be building an impressive building to have the pleasure of destroying it. Not by masochism or stupid demonstration of power but by the deep need to search for its expressive limits.
Because this is about:
People at their limits, people screaming, hysterically laughing, people calm in their despair, people falling. Here's another, possible title for this section: "Man Who Falls" like Don De Lillo's narrative. Because I see a similar climate of despair but also of bravery, of fear and of faith in what is called human dignity. No melodramas.
Even when drawing animals, attacking bulls, tigers in orgasm, Soulis thinks of humans. Symbols, metaphors, or co-demonstrations, for that matter, are easy to do, and I will not dwell on them. What I will emphasize in my brief note is that we have before us an authentic painting, dense both in content and language, with all its contradictions and achievements. And that's not a bit.

Manos Stefanidis, 19/9/2019