ΝΗ ΤΟΝ ΚΥΝΑ! "Melancholy is the felicity of sadness" V.HugoManos Stefanidis, Curator of the National Gallery

In the post-war years, at a time when the world first realized with great intensity its existential disunity between scientific (proved incomplete) and metaphysical thought and when the Frankfurt school detected a dramatic absence of the Word, all kind of "aunty-like" art critics and history Cassandras announced with loud voice the death of painting. As if painting were a childless old maid with all sort of nephews and apparent heirs running wishfully to announce her death. However in this case, who would be the winner to profit substantially by this announced, yet never come true death? Surely, an easy answer would imply all dealers of art peculiarities and producers of an industrialized avant-garde. Moreover, all fake painters would also welcome the end of an art prevailing for more than five centuries as the main cultural value and ideological alibi of the bourgeois world and therefore would kill with great pleasure everything out of their reach of conquer. The list must also include all the various and colorful theoretic minds awaiting for an opportunity to express obituary speeches in order to somehow justify the absence of their work.

Naturally, things are much more complicated and therefore more dangerous. A painted picture always aspired to visualize the invisible and the secret, in other words to touch divinity, as apposed to simply produce a pointed finger towards the obvious of the "objective". Painting, given in a high poetic level, above all defends the right of personal freedom of each one of us to reproduce the world from the beginning instead of taking it as a given fact. However, the discussion about painting as mother art of all later forms of visual picture (photography, cinema, video) should determine the difference between painting and the attribute of being "related with painting", as there is also a difference between theatre and the attribute of being "theatrical".

Enough has been said at a theoretical level. The fact is that in our melancholic days, art as the ultimate right of expression instead of a newly-rich way of showing off presents our only hope. Art will save - if ever can be saved - the world.

Costis Georgiou is a painter who long ago has succeeded a personal style and plastic competence in performing also sculpturing; and why not? What naive would draw the separating line and assign exclusive roles? If art is a whole, how can an artist function as a separate part?

Georgiou follows his own personal style in his paintings, as well as a forceful temperament, combining the glorious with a caricature and expressionistic form with a frenetic colorism. His themes involve the old interweave between the human and the animal, the beast asserting human characteristics and Homo Humanus becoming a beast. The same refers to his sculpturing: human figures and dogs alternate their strangely attractive malformation, human-like beings wandering their hybridist nature either like idols of a primitive worship - for example like god Anouvi in ancient Egypt - or like the extreme transformations and dramatic metallaxes of a last biogenetic experiment. However, drama in the art of Costis Georgiou is not flowing on the surface of his works, either paintings or sculptures, but is nestling in their cell while incubating the eggs of terror. This is probably the most important secret of his performing: a misleading enchantment of the form along with a deafening color-lust place the spectator in the center of an existential awe. Picturing the limits of an ascending cruel humanity Georgiou suspects the tragic touching at the same time the grotesque, as the era of heroic placements in the picture belongs to the past. Until when? Until the beastly gains again its magical transcending nature. At this point, Georgious art meets with the forms of German Horst Antes, or British Graham Sutterland, or Colombian Armando Bottero and becomes a contemporary European value. What might this mean?

At times of extreme rationalism the beastly might hide inside the truth of a hounded but powerful nature claiming again its rights...

Manos Stefanidis
Curator of the National Gallery