by Christine Cayol, director of Yishu8 gallery, Beijing (January 20, 2010)
Yishu 8 gallery proudly hosts today the works of Yorgos Papageorgiou. The light of the exhibited paintings meets the wintry light of Beijing and invites the visitor to look at them with some jubilation.
The painter, Maurice Denis liked to recall that "a painting, before being a war horse, a nude or an anecdote, is essentially a flat surface covered by colours assembled in a particular order".
Yorgos' work is true to this definition, and we could insist on this point by saying that the essence itself of the painting, before representing anything, offers some lines, colours and paper for our eyes to feast on.
Of course, not any line, colour or paper... And this is where the art lies. All things in the painting must combine to catch our attention and inspire an emotion. I don't know whether Yorgos works quickly or slowly, carefully or in an untamed way? Probably both, his works look like him.
There is a passionate enthusiasm within these badly cut-out red bands, in these crumpled papers; there is a freedom of writing that does not care about beauty or truth.
And then, at the same time the artist is in search of a composition that is reminiscent of musical composition. Such a precision in the positioning of the red, blue or black bands of paper, such obviousness in the appearance of a sign, a photograph, a face, can only come from a sensitive intention.
Yorgos gambles with chance certainly, but he is the one that wins at this high stakes game. Chance quickly takes the shape of necessity and once we have seen these arrangements of lines or these collages, we get the feeling that things were meant to be that way.
The checked pattern appearance of the papers could be reminiscent of a Mondrian's minimalist paintings, but the play with collages bring us back to a reordering (rationalization) of emotions and subtle sensations rather than to a deliberate attempt at abstraction.
Yorgos likes reality. Light is the breath he draws.
Sometimes a face appears suddenly in the canvas and looks at us. A face that comes from afar, from used, abandoned photographs that Yorgos finds in China where he lives.
Treasures from the past that he brings back to life from the rubble of tormented lives and torn stories. A face stares at us and all of a sudden the canvas resembles a portrait. Then the radiant painting gives way to nostalgia and with subtlety comes a change in style and format.
The small canvases are fragments of time that we keep preciously within ourselves as we would do with a pebble or a shell that would still be carrying the warmth of the sun on a distant island where the painter keeps his secret.