SPEECH MADE WITH THE VARNISHING OF THE EXPOSURE OF ART POINT INTERNATIONAL GALLERY, IN BELGIUM ON MARCH 27, 2004Florent Bex,Director of the Atwerp Museum of Modern Art
The works of art belong to the field of the visual plastic language.
On a side, the artist expresses himself in images. Other, the witness reads and interprets these images. A glance always does not see what another glance claims to detect there.
To look at a work of art is thus a question of perception. Our individual perception given and is moderated by a whole series of factors: our cultural tradition, our education, our most intimate desires, the context in which we look at...
All that made that to look at a work of art is enthralling and complicated at the same time. What we see is also what we think of seeing or want to see.
The witness irremediably weighs down the image with a whole series of significances which necessarily do not correspond to the original intentions of the artist. From the moment when the work of art leaves the workshop of its creator, it thus still will live a clean life.
I thus will try to tell you what I see personally or what I think of seeing. An attempt to scan the illusions which Kostis Georgiou presents to us.
Then, I will speak about the style, D E the technique, of the formalism; the importance of the color in pictorial work, the differences and the parallels between the fabrics and the sculptures and I will be delayed in particular on the unceasingly recurring iconography and topics in his work.
What strikes from the start in paintings, it is that they are excessively framed, with a profusion of nervous, sensual features.
Kostis does not leave the least piece of surface indemne. His irresistible fanaticism is felt. While looking at there more closely, one can bore until the birth even work, the creative process of becoming. One reads truly the astonishment of the artist himself, which appears with the wire of painting. His passion is felt: the transformation which is done between its hands. Each work is a fusion of tension and energy and this, in an explosive style, a fireworks, a bursting of colors sharp, the colors of the sun and rainbow.
Kostis works so much with the brush Q u' with the knife, while proceeding by glacis, and by scraping lines in the matter. Its overflowing practice of vitality makes that while combing, it invades little by little the topic outlined at the beginning. During this exposure, one discovers an enthralling confrontation between paintings rich colors and those in black and white. It is especially in these last that the expressive talent of the artist is expressed.
The artist draws his topics so much in the local culture (Greek antiquity in particular) that in the world of its experiment of life. What strikes from the start, it is that the man occupies the principal place in his work, that it is the man or the woman besides, they appear both there. But most of the time, the man is only in his environment. The individual seems to have folded up himself on itself.
Obviously, the artist proceeds per series. There is a whole series of collectors which it puts in scene with a point of irony, like as many individuals extremely satisfied with themselves. One finds there police chiefs of exposure, philosophers and of the Messrs ABC with Z.
There are also the acrobats. Allegorical representations would be said, which show us how the man contorsionne in his fight for survi vre or to show everywhere what it can make.
And then there is the woman who appears primarily naked in all her corporality, nimbée of mystery.
Across the men, there are the animals and most remarkable is the dog, the dog as a companion of the man. But the animals without the human presence seem often put out of cage or connected. Is this an evocation of the ecological catastrophe caused by the man in nature?
There is also the tree, represented like a solitary individual, practically stripped of sheets, which is still maintained in life by a small opening in a hardened basement.
The animals form practically a central topic in the sculptural work of Kostis Georgiou. The material is primarily iron and steel, of materials difficult to work, that the artist manages to metamorphose out of fish, horses, dogs and in bull. Contrary to pictorial work, the matter and surface are worked in a less tumultuous way in the sculptures. The forms seem also more hieratic and stylées. But here also a bitter taste is found, because these frail images are equipped with aggressive accents. The animals are presented on carpets of nails or then seem connected or limited in their freedom of movement. Their familiar appearance is faded, bus eros and libido are imprisoned and do not find any exit.
Kostis Georgiou is an artist all-round, because in addition to paintings and sculptures, it carries out also specific installations I N-situ.
Allow me to also speak about the context in which this work could be born.
We must estimate ourselves happy that the movement of globalisation which is essential everywhere does not infiltrate in arts. The fact that the individual artist starts in very first place in his specific and personal cultural context like its lived, is a good bargain. It is what makes a work of art enthralling. This association of universal and the room, specific, through the personality of the artist. At Kostis, it is obvious that the Mediterranean context of Greece marked its work: sun, colors; old reasons for 4000 years of highest antiquity, the bull (Minotaure); the image of the philosopher.
Here is a work which could never have been born in the grisaille from our regions from North.
I come to the conclusion.
The work of Kostis Georgiou without any doubt found its unicity, because it evolves/moves in an at the same time unstable and balanced electric field, located between the illusion and the mannerism; between the exuberant use of the color and a deeply human message.
Its work represents the existential problems to be it at the man between safety and the aggression, eros and thanatos, the life and death.
S be sprinkled sun works, these splendid objects to be looked at, relativize the human existence, the impotence, the doubt, the suffering and the hope, our desires and our limits.
This world which conceals so many ambiguities and contradictions, it manages magnifiquement to depict it, through its fulgurating explosions, almost plugging which, happily, exhale also the joy in life, energy and a vitality with all tests.
Florent Bex ( Director of the Antwerp Museum of Modern Art )