Born in Agrinio in 1975, he studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts under Rena Papaspyrou (1996-2001). He proceeded with his studies on a Greek State Scholarships Foundation grant and graduated summa cum laude. In 1999 he spent an academic semester in Spain as an Erasmus exchange student. His works can be found in important art collections both in Greece and abroad. He lives and works in Athens.
On Art and His Art: Theofilos Katsipanos
The painter Theophilos Katsipanos believes that the question “what is art?” cannot be answered. He describes his own relationship with art as romantic, and states that what he looks for in the work of other artists are the affinities that will inspire him. He identifies a poetic element in his work, and points out that distortion is a standing theme of exploration in his painting, whether it comes to the human figure or space and its staging. He underlines that, in his work, he always strives to speak of the real through the fake, as he considers the real to be trapped within its own self-referentiality. He describes the Sotiris Felios Collection as anthropocentric and argues that every collection sheds a different light upon the work of an artist, depending on its overall context. Recognising that his painting is connected to the work of several other artists in the collection by the shared thread of surrealism, he refers, in closing, to his work The Poster.
Alma Contemporary Art Gallery•
50,000,000 B.C. •
Exploring the Paradox •
See Through •
C.K. Art Gallery (Alpha C.K. Art Gallery)•
Have a Look •
Katsipanos’s Anthropomorphism Turning Zoomorphic
I am an insect that dreamt it was human.
Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) in David Cronenberg’s “The Fly”
In his recent show Theofilos Katsipanos, diffusedly, casts aside the gloomy, ‘gothic’ character coming out of his former work and spins off into cartoonish realms. In his frames, the depiction of the human form, intensely realistic, albeit distorted in proportion, had prevailed, abundantly. Yet, presently, the human figure, still present, is represented along human-like, animal creatures: rather, anthropomorphic shapes; zoomorphic humans (?). The images seem to split into two, on two levels. Reality, as it were, and dream world – wherein the artist’s imagination seems beyond restraint – in coexistence.
Human longing to animate objects or to give them human attributes such as voice, legs, mouth, hands, clothing etc, is quite untraceable. Still, Aesop’s fables would most probably be among the first historical attempts to “endow (humanlike) soul” to animals, by bestowing them the gift of thought and speech – implementing them as metaphors for instructive purposes (intended for humanity). Then we would have La Fontaine’s “Myths”. Further still, surrealist precursors; like Lewis Carroll, readily presenting anthropomorphic features onto objects as plain as playing cards, retaining within the entire description merely the discipline characterizing the actual fabrication of the pack itself as a metaphor for the ordered plurality and insignificance of the military.
Should one discern any affinity among Katsipanos’s anthropomorphic methods to those of Carroll’s, it becomes all the more transparent in the case of the – invisible – Cheshire-Cat.
The second dimension in this recent work, also – peculiarly – touching upon “Alice in Wonderland” (or, even more so, upon its follow up, “Through the Looking Glass”) is the distortion of the geometrical space, the shrinking and blowing up of rooms, the contraction of furniture (themselves haphazardly turning zoomorphic as well), the mutation of the spatial role of Katsipanos’s own “Alice”. Indeed, she is constantly present, a girl-woman much like Carroll’s protagonist, who seems to be the keeper of the keys among the two universes. And when the space around the shapes is not architectural-geometrical, it is conjured in occult shreds of obscure forests.
Then, there come the wee cartoonish creatures that, as mentioned, start up an entirely new page in the progress of the artist’s work: scores of them, fawns to puppies to anthropomorphic amoebae (?), up to definitely unidentifiable animal forms. The forms-animals materialize transcending common spatial arrangement: growing out of the walls, hovering in the ambient air, tumbling, almost invisible.
Katsipanos’s painting has always been characterized by vivid mystery and an eerie sense. Today, inoculating it with a keen pop element instead of dragging it into some readily apprehensible normality, he sets it off inside unfathomed terrains of the bizarre.