“When paper meets colour”

by Dora Rogan-Iliopoulou

 Historian of Art – Art Critic, Officier des Arts et Lettres

(January 2010)

The beneficial effect of China’s  social-cultural environment on the recent work of Giorgos Papageorgiou, as we see in his actual exposition, touched its utmost. Effect already obvious in the work presented  by this important and  comprehensive, artist two years ago in Today Art Museum of Beijing. All this, because the potential of Giorgos Papageorgiou’s  figurative writing has been harmonised, - by instinct as well as self reliance, and this   from the beginning-  with the atmosphere or better the breeze, exuded by the  spirit and the texture of Chinese culture.

Except of simply claiming, we can  also underline that this particularity  of Giorgos Papageorgiou was by origin – by his own DNA – predestined not only to coexist in a schematic apposition but  in addition to be absolutely identical  with the stimuli ceaselessly activated  in his  imagination and his mentality: The social-cultural environment of the country in which he  lives, works and creates since 2005. We can say, therefore, without any hesitation, that this charismatic and, by his own force, always renewed artist, met – implying by that an absolute identification- his own self in China. Apart from the particularity and the rythm of the figurative writing, this identification concerns his way to experience his  matiera, the paper: this per excellence supporting  surface of figurative creation  in China.

Metaphysical indeed, seems to be, the attraction exercised on him by the prevalent atmosphere of  China:  While he paints since adolescence, and in a more  systematic way, since 1985, living now in this country, not only reached a  new stage  but also found an  absolute justification.

Nobody escapes his own destiny. Giorgos Papageorgiou was set to meet, in  the most creative way, his own destiny in China. Destiny expressed, in painting, by  an absolute, as much as creative, harmonisation of his  Greek cultural origin  with the specific qualities of the western culture, as well as  with their organic-homeopathetically speaking – instrumentation,  under the state of charm that China exercises on his psychism.

In most specific terms,   this naturally supreme and creative sensitivity of the painter in terms of  colour and trace - in such a degree that colour gives almost by itself birth to colour, while always fixing the almost immaterial and charismatically real and rhythmical trace-   offers an  eminently expedient field for the specific qualities  of China. This, because his work represents  from the start, a diachronic code of a  certain cryptic, and still not deciphered,   writing; especially through  these particularly agile, calligraphic combinations and forms.

This particular aspect of the figurative writing of an artist, so  creatively informed on  the aesthetic approaches of West, makes apparent,  in  every  piece of work, a charismatic osmosis between East and West.

Osmosis activated, eminently, from this exceptional palindrome of  trace and colour, in which have been orchestrated the endless  rythms of cosmogony itself. Osmosis, already  materialised and completed in the first works that Giorgos Papageorgiou  painted  in China, between 2006 and 2008: Hutongs, Some years back in China, Papers, e.t.c. Osmosis renewed, in rythm and potential, in the compositions that we can admire in this exposition.

Here, through the use of colour, we experience  a particularly activated    sense of touch. Sense, extremely strengthened and developed by the inexhaustible possibilities that the texture of the supporting surface provides and presents for  the surrounding  space;  texture  in  which prevails the paper or,  at least,  the blending of paper and linoleum. In this  so idiomatically orchestrated rythm, as for instance in Cristaux, in Construction games, in Jiatong, in Une Dance, and generally in all the compositions of 2008-2009, not only is projected a music, in terms of sense and  intensity,  but also appears   an equally dynamic sense of  a bas-relief; the result of  every piece’s prevailing technique ( collage from paper and other small materials), where  colour is  the eminent conjunctive element. Colour, the miraculous element in Papageorgiou’s painting.

Colour that constitutes the web - the ballast - and simultaneously  the  breeze of each one of his  composition. The structure, but also each subject itself, or better said, each prevailing association, impose on the viewer an inexhaustible dynamism. Here, as a matter of fact, not only a chromatic plan, or a chromatic intervention,  but even an infinitely small chromatic trace, lead us in forms, situations, syndromes, visions, reminiscences, flashes of the  mind, where chopped memories, relapsing syndromes, differentiated, but  always durable, impressions are orchestrated retrospectively, each time with a different, but always active rhythm. Mainly, however, events and images that include, or better seize and continuously give birth, to renewed situations, activating a different reading each time. Reading that imposes the sense of a work capable of living every space in a multidimensional way, without   interrupting or limiting the spectator’s possibility to feel in full its  materiality.  Indeed, a reaction  against   any  concrete description, every piece of work, independently  of its dimensions - that is to say, even when it is particularly small – constitutes the unique space that  we see and experience around us, activating thus an unusual dynamism and   a diachronic vividness.

Any concrete sense of representations, pictures, impressions and forms, taken from China and presented by the painter in his previous work, has now  been  reformulated - more creatively and at the same time most effectively – through this more immediate  sense of the stimuli themselves, activating in that way  an original dynamism on our own subconscious. Operation that multiplies – in an inexhaustible way - the force of influence and  the equally dynamic reaction  of our imagination, through the accumulation of our personal, lived experiences. Colour and trace appear, here, to be  poetic allusions. Metaphysical and multidimensional allusions, from an intellectual and psychological point of view, which, worked as they are in the artist’s subconscious, acquired in China  a particular glamour. A glamour activating  his charismatic inspiration, his transcendental trace. Some times compact and  condensed,  some times ethereal and atmospheric in their figurative output, these allusions,  transcendental as they are,  do not  constitute simple points or even symbols. This charismatic painter lives breathes, loves, creates with an eminently poetic way and so he can transmit us, through these allusions, the ‘breeze’ of energy running into  Universe.

Precisely in his actual work we admire, and not simply observe, this energy. This work constitutes a distillation of soul; it imposes diachronically the sense of life itself as a clear  expression of cosmogony, not at all as apposition of material reflections and situations. Here, indeed, the dematerialised  experience and stimuli - up to where the figurative matter can allow it - impose  through unknown, but activated paths, the significance of a continuously renewed harmony. Harmony which, orchestrated in an endless rhythm around trace and colour, fully corresponds to the Platonic definition art: In order to be authentic, art should express an Idea and not simply constitute an imitation. With this dynamic decipherment , through colour and trace, of the rythms of life  in their metaphysical expression, Giorgos Papageorgiou achieves to present us, in  an absolutely personal way, the quintessence of cosmogony: This very  Idea, that spirit and matter constitute simply two different aspects of the one and only truth: Truth identified with the supreme Energy.