Alexandros Issaris

Issaris Alexandros
© Odysseas Vaharidis

Born in Serres in 1941, he studied Architecture at the Polytechnic Schools of Graz and Thessaloniki. He lived in Thessaloniki from 1962 until 1978. He is a painter, a writer and a translator. He has received numerous awards for his publications. As a graphic designer he has designed many book covers and edited many publications while working for major publishing houses. Works by him can be found in museums and private collections. He passed away in 2022 in Athens.


Solo Exhibitions


Pictures of a Lifetime Gallery 7 Athens


Autumn Works Gallery 7 Athens


Lemoni Bookstore Athens


Gallery 7 Athens


Gallery 7 Athens


Irmos Gallery Thessaloniki


Skoufa Gallery Athens


Paratiritis Art Gallery Thessaloniki


Kreonidis Gallery Athens


3 Drawings and 35 Paintings for C.P. Cavafy Municipal Cultural Center of Zografos Athens


Heraklion Art Gallery Heraklion


Galerie Bodo Von Langenn Athens


Nees Morfes Gallery Athens


Zita-Mi Art Gallery Thessaloniki


The painting of Alexandros Issaris sets the terms of an anthropology and suggests anatomical ways for its establishment. But his earlier work, too, creates that sense of a world opened up. Entrails and members, pores and hairy endothelia, the broken tube of the outer ear, greasy depths, the eye, the rock, the erect penis, the ferns, the pubic area, the ejaculation and the secretion of the slippery vagina, the white glands, the clock, the finger, the body that suddenly emerges. This is an anatomy that’s not descriptive, it convulses, you are blown away by the deep, slow breath of the loins that suddenly appeared, by their threatening modesty. That living anatomy that subjects the two primeval emotions you experience, once the body and all of its accessories open up before you: disgust and love. But that anatomy that scattered all over the world the secret and the visible organs of the belly, the strong shins, pieces of golden skin, mummified forearms and solid bones – now all of it closes up and comes together, to make up the mature organism. Issaris, who already knows of this secret and untaught anatomy of bodies, arrives at a reborn-Renaissance body.

That body maintains all of its dazzling lustre. Stricken by a kind of lust or a kind of sleep (death?) – and stricken, therefore, where the endless human game, the game of standing upright, is perpetually played out – and stricken, therefore, there, in the loins (where peasants believe that pleasure resides, whence the sperm pours out), that body will lean back and abandon itself to the sheathing of another body, with an exquisite release, or it will bend forward, far forward, to rest on its own knees, hiding its face forever. That face of a man that we never saw, will never appear again.

Those, I believe, are the two positions – the poles of the bodies in Issaris’s painting. In between (or a little further away) the bodies will lay down in the blood of a terrific, final copulation. They will rise up in a monument of loves, with genitals crawling all over them. They will become bloated, ugly, as they lie, dead by now, viewed from the feet up, like the dead body of Christ. They will explode and, through flapping rags of skin, whatever is inside the body will burst out with a bang, like a terrifying Exodus of the soul. They will line up, wordless or headless, on funerary friezes: where the human body goes to live after love or after death.

On these palimpsest surfaces, where the primeval view of the world fades and appears and fades again, one can read visual suggestions that are full of holes, just like with human speech: next to the smooth curve of the fold, the wheel. Behind the Hellenistic nude body, the clock. The flat wood ending up in two fingers, one finger bent and riding the other, one body emerging from the complicated mechanism of a machine. I’m talking about the natural incompatibility of one word with another that makes speech revealing, I’m talking about the natural incompatibility of one image with another that makes vision infinite.

I believe that Alexandros Issaris belongs in a Renaissance class of painters, those who reposition the demand of Art for the anthropomorphic foundation of the world. This is a visual anthropomorphism, but indeed mostly an ideological one (more than psychological): it houses the world beneath the human figure, stretched until it rips to reveal the Other.


Giorgos Cheimonas
* From the catalogue of Alexandros Issaris’s exhibition “Autumn Works”, Gallery 7, Athens, 2016.