John Kolokotronis - The Transient Myth of Paschalis Angelidis


Distortion of the historical memory; The game with the mirror; Am I late? Is there any place for immortality?
The artist’s choice to dive into the depths of his cultural tradition seems to be a secure refuge to both younger

and older artists, who feel that the established aesthetics of the past prevail over the oscillating and untried with

the passage of time aesthetics, that each new era is proposing. Everything in our lives has an easier sequence, when there is a beginning.
Things become more complicated, since the root of the principle is found in the greek tradition, which is constituted with unique ideas
and unprecedented forms of art, that render an earthborn artist into a contemporary Atlas; attempting to raise a tiny pebble from the bottomless ocean.
Let us not ignore that in our era, the systematically, classified knowledge offers more perspectives of the reality of the past; the archeologist’s point of view, the psychoanalyst’s, the philosopher’s, the sociologist’s, the technocrat’s, the artist’s, the art-historian’s, the poet’s etc. If we wonder which perspective gives the reality of the past promptly, which perspective considers it as genuine

an authentic, the answer could only be arbitrary. All the perspectives of the reality are of equal value and each one of

them is authentic; they follow closely the intentions of the artist a little before and after the accomplishment of the art-work.

Antiquity if the field of action of Paschalis Aggelidis thought. His ability to paint original interpretations of his personal view is not an

easy issue… If someone would try to describe the artist’s emotional state, he would realize how the artist differentiates himself

from the public in front of a work of art, which brings to memory something from the classical world.

The anxiety is the artist’s characteristic, as he tries to escape from the chaos of imitation and to alleviate the

emptiness of ornamentation. Compare the photorealistic images of Achilles Droungas paintings, where the vision and the

memory of the ancient greek art is being kept up in the game of optical illusion, in the architectural classical composition,

in the choice of bright colors and intense contrasts. Compare the ancient heroes of Christos Karas, who are

being transported from the mythological field into the space-time, like ghosts of the nights memory.

Earlier in the beginning of the century the unique De Chirico gave the feeling of meteorism between the present

and the historical past, as N. Kalas remarks (The Art at the Time of hazarding 1997:2241).
What is the case of Paschalis Aggelidis? The artist is careful and sincere in his efforts. His reference to history is the

function point as protexts to relieve the memory tension of a mythological or historical event reproduced by the imagination.

On the paintings the memory reveals obvious signs of decay, a sign of an arbitrary subjectivity.
No matter the superhuman effort provided by the sincere artist, he can never break through the limits of subjective perception.

He can only add his part to the accumulation of knowledge and to the enlarger world of the image.
“Antinoos” the noluptuous, the stern wreathed priestess, the male torso cut in pieces hanging from ribbons

an balancing in a vacuum would be unreasonable to provoke the explosive temper of the censorians archaeologists

in front of the alteration of the truth.

However it is important to appreciate the combinations of those images in the width of our imagination when approaching

the ancient world. 12 The distance between the artist’s imagination and the archaeologist’s truth is being witnessed
by the comparison of their works.

The artist if faithful to the important principle of the century, the subjectivity of the subjects he
paints could be interpreted as standard human psychological disorders: the neurosis of the corresponding
Antinoos in different times (“The gaze of the Ephebe adolescence”); the neurosis of the prostitute and narcissus in

front of the degeneration of their bodies (“Pandora”, “Pandora’s box”, “The Venus winter”); the neurosis of the

game of power (“Cosmos III”); the neurosis of the poet who fragmentally expresses the truth
of the world fighting continuously against his own thoughts (“Poet’s price”, “A good Memory”);
the neurosis provoked by the compromise between the theatre of life and the loneliness of
existence (“Choice”, “Theatrical Speech”, “Choice of a mask’s time”); the neurosis in front of the
impossibility of absolute knowledge and the inexplicable mysteries of life (“The wrapping
of the forest”, “Roots of the World”). At present we believe that is not ingenious any more to make something which

is not copying the nature, since during the last two centuries – mainly – we learned to live on the limits of an
artificial nature, which reflects the radicalism and suggests the mechanical organization of
life and thought in the big city. A contemporary artist needs to sharpen his sense of observation, to follow a disciplined
practice, to systematize the acquisition of knowledge, to struggle in order to create a style. Yiannis Tsarouhis referring to Picasso’s
sarcasm about Matisse searching for blond models that he finally painted green, stated
that the schizophrenic need of each civilization to have prototypes that men finally held in contempt.

This is the greatest success in Art; to provide the artist with the unlimited right to interpret according his will from
the big deposit of ideas and forms and to participate in the formation of prototypes.

For Modigliani to paint his swan like necks of women, for Caravaggio to use ordinary,

worthless people as models for the representation of Christ and the Saints in his paintings.

Through the painting of Paschalis Aggelidis we live a fragmented and theatrical experience.
The latter is being expressed through his perception of the scenographic field of composition, where there is a

complete absence of tricks, that would strengthen a feeling of mystery. A thin layer of ground replaces the ancient

compacts square base of the statue and eventually the nebulae that carry the saints of the religion; the chair’s legs,

which support “The Sphere of the World”, stand on a golden floor by the artistic permission; “The riches of Pandora” are

exhibited from an open cardboard, while “the roots of the world” are being found in the nature under an artificial
architectural ground etc. I think it’s obvious the desire for him to speak in a symbolic way – but not all mysterious – using
the metaphor and poetry, pulling the veil of psychoanalysis. “The bust of the Horse” which hangs of a string,
stops the time in the neutral scenographic field of thinking. Whichever we are to look, we notice an escape from the human

face and its replacement by portraits of statues, cut in pieces. He often paints headless stone bodies, other times
he paints fractured portraits and some other times a mask.
Ortega y Gasset (The anti popularity or Art, 1925: 74) supports that the destiny of man is to live human life,

while the destiny of the poets is to invent the no-existant. The destiny of Paschalis Aggelidis is to transform

the signs of the ancient civilization, alterating and masquerading them to look differently from their previous appearance.
This is the reason why he paints pictures of statues, which can not be used as measure of beauty of the natural

prototype as required by the ancient world, but as a comparison measure of the psycho-analytical interpretation imposed
by the relativity and by the moment to the members of the contemporary society. The artist reverses the tension

that we have for the pictures of the statues, to the idea that we have for the statues, as a reflection of our ownselves.
Otherwise he should practice in imitating the ancient symbols. On the contrary he transfers in them relative feelings

and momentary impressions of the contemporary spectator, obliging him to recall personal feelings.
Are there any statues that could shed fears? Aggelidis replaces the pupil of the eye with an empty space, painted always black,

and the spectator has therefore the impression that the portrait’s glare is sad, drowned into the deep thoughts, strict,

inquisitive, ecstatic, cold, full of determination; the stone-faces get alive.
Often we use an idea in order to understand the reality. The artist skilfully isolates it and makes it stand out the immobility

of the ancient statues, that are imbued with continuity. Then he transfers to these portraits, human feelings
and he unexpectedly creates a theatrical scene, where the confessional monologue is prevailing. Aggelidis compromises

indirectly the duration of human feelings. The artist adopts a negative stand against the art of antiquity of anxiously
tries to relieve the contemporary man from the excessive seriousness and the mechanical way of living, offering himself

the pleasure of questioning through his paintings.
The sophist Gorgias in one of his juridical speeches supports that in tragedy and in painting the one who cheats more,

creating creatures similar to real ones, he is the best, because the poet’s and the technician’s goal is not the truth,
but the people’s pleasure, (Chr. Carouzos, Ancient Art, 1981:55). It is a certainty what the critic N. Kalas supports that:

painting is something more that the eye can see. The question that derives from this well justified illusion and the secret
meaning of the images, still remains unanswered for as long as the artist prefers to avoid interviews and keeps on painting

new images, isolated in Makrinitsa on mountain Pelion.

Dr. John Kolokotronis
Professor of the Art history at the Demokritos University