Yorgos Lazongas

Lazongas Yorgos
© Contemporary Greek Art Institute Archives

He was born in Larissa in 1945. He studied Architecture at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (1963-1970), but he eventually devoted himself to Painting. In 1970 he was awarded at the Goethe Institute’s of Thessaloniki competition for young painters and in 1972 he won the first prize at the Hellenic American Union’s young painters’ contest. In 1976 he left for Paris where he studied painting on a French state scholarship. There he met gallerist Alexander Iolas and familiarized himself with the contemporary art movements. He taught at the Department of Architecture of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (1982-1999) and in 2008 he was elected professor at the Athens School of Fine Arts, where he taught until 2012. In 2008 he created a permanent installation for the “Eleonas” Athens metro station. Works by him can be found in numerous important Greek and international public and private collections. He lives and works in Athens.

Works

Solo Exhibitions

2018

Randomness As a Method National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) Athens

2016

My Eftalou, 35 years ago Municipal Gallery of Mithymna Lesvos

2015

Paintings – Drawings 1983-1993. The Christos Christofis Collection 16 Fokionos Negri Athens

2015

Poems & Crimes Art Bar (Gavriilidis Publications) Athens

2013

Lola Nikolaou Art Gallery Thessaloniki

2012

Errata Zoumboulakis Galleries Athens

2009

Sirens Municipal Gallery of Larissa - G.I. Katsigras Museum Larissa

2009

Réalité, Res, Rien Zoumboulakis Galleries Athens

2006

A4 Travelling exhibition Benaki Museum – Pireos Str. Building (138 Pireos St.), Athens / Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art (MOMus – Museum of Contemporary Art), Thessaloniki

2004

Artificial Breath Lola Nikolaou Art Gallery Thessaloniki

2004

Artificial Breath Studio B.D. Sema Athens

2003

Time Sickness and Kerameikos Tortoises Studio B.D. Sema Athens

2003

Artificial Breath Studio B.D. Sema Athens

2001

Pornoskopio Lola Nikolaou Art Gallery Thessaloniki

1999

Lola Nikolaou Art Gallery Thessaloniki

1997

Blind Painting Mylos Gallery Thessaloniki

1997

Blind Painting Lola Nikolaou Art Gallery Thessaloniki

1996

Blind Painting Agathi Art Gallery Athens

1994

Hellenic Foundation for Culture Alexandria

1994

Berlin Gallery Cairo

1994

Lola Nikolaou Art Gallery Thessaloniki

1994

Zita-Mi Art Gallery Thessaloniki

1992

Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art (MOMus – Museum of Contemporary Art) Thessaloniki

1992

Saul Modiano Restaurant (Art Space) Thessaloniki

1991

Paratiritis Art Gallery Thessaloniki

1991

Painting Miraraki Art Gallery Kifissia

1991

Desmos Art Gallery Athens

1991

Agathi Art Gallery Athens

1991

Galerie 3 Athens

1990

Ulysses' Sheets Epikentro Contemporary Art Center Patras

1990

Municipal Gallery of Larissa - G.I. Katsigras Museum Larissa

1990

Art Gallery Athens

1990

Le Chaînon manquant Paris

1989

Desmos Art Gallery, Athens Art Gallery Athens

1988

7th Day Pierides Art Gallery Glyfada

1987

Homeric Zita-Mi Art Gallery Thessaloniki

1987

Paintings – Drawings 1977-1987 Vafopoulion Cultural Center Thessaloniki

1987

Bed Sheets Anglican Church Patras

1987

Diaspro Art Gallery Nicosia

1985

Eros – Death Medusa Art Gallery Athens

1983

Body Text Desmos Art Gallery Athens

1983

Desmos Art Gallery Athens

1981

Painting Zita-Mi Art Gallery Thessaloniki

1981

Medusa Art Gallery Athens

1981

Foto Medium Art Center Wroclaw

1981

Body – Text No. 1 Centre George Pompidou Paris

1980

Lazongas 1977-1980 Galerie Samy Kinge Paris

1979

Desmos Art Gallery Athens

1976

Ora Art and Cultural Centre Athens

1975

Zita-Mi Art Gallery Thessaloniki

Press

The Punishment of Sirens

[…]

A primary characteristic of Lazongas’s painting is the restructuring of form, of form that purposely does not lose the thread of communication with the initial shape-point of departure. Along the way he leaves obvious traces – fragments and pieces create channels of communication between the abstract and the real idea. In this game, the trace plays a key role. The trace, the fracture, the fragment, meanings that are formulated systematically in his works already since 1974, maintain the recollection of a complete reality in its absence, that simultaneously acquires a new consciousness. The fragment is the memory but also the ‘autonomous’ object. As he himself stresses “the fragment is the work”, “the characteristics of a latent materiality are inherent in the traces” referring to the “medium that produces or provokes them.”

The abstract deconstruction of the form and of the inherent truth in his works does not necessarily also mean its abolishment. And this because the trace even if it does not constitute a faithful representation, is certainly a visual and hollow reminder of it. Everything between before and now are simultaneously absent and present. The descriptive narration is abolished. The emergence of symbolic writings, that signify without being revealed, finally refer to a conceptually greater narration, gradually emerging, through consecutive and successive transparencies. Thus, the meaning of time is also introduced in his work. From one perspective, the deconstruction of forms was often interpreted during the 20th century either as a preliminary trumpet call for its distortion, or as a chance for its complete negation, distain and final death, or finally as a desire for revolutionary rift with the past and their stereotypical rules that attributed to the aesthetic value of the “beautiful” in the respect of figurative representation. From another view however, the death of the “beautiful” with the parallel abolition of aesthetic rules, made some wonder about the oncoming death of art.

What sets Lazongas apart is that he persists in the artistic idiom of writing and in the search of a drawing that is decomposed and recomposed. Thus, he succeeds to isolate in a ritualistic way (blindly drawing with traces in carbon) the central generative core of the drawing. He always believed that painting, as we still understand it and after a sufficiently advanced stage of multiple experimentations, reaches an expressive impasse in danger of being consumed, often times due to its technical specifications. The drawing on the contrary, the most archaic and original form of painting, is for him a way to re-negotiate the image, freeing it from its limits. Groping, he pulls images from the dark, blindly, from the black surface of carbon. The view of “blind painting” reveals images directly from the subconscious, without aesthetic intervention and the rules of the visual approach of the work the moment it is created. The black surface interferes between the work and the painter. Like it wants to serve the idea more, despite its deformed idol, as such the work itself would result from the critique or the visual contact with it. He touches more than he paints the body in his works. Appreciating the autonomy of materials, he designates their character. With carbon he considers that the image preexists, otherwise the reason for its existence is negated.

When virtual reality dominates in economy, in politics, in art or in human relations, there is a need to touch things beyond any kind of monitor that completely substitutes the living experience. The process of blind painting through carbon resembles the way a blind person perceives the world: touching objects and bodies, he discovers their nature and imagines their images. In the whole process the meaning of enigma is introduced and elicited. The enigmatic imaginary form that is inwardly moulded emerges equally enigmatic the moment it is drawn “blindly” behind the darkness of carbon. Thus the enigma reproduces enigma.

[…]

The perseverance of the artist is to exhaust all the possible techniques and ways of recording the trace that the artist himself devises (printings, carbon, transparencies, silk screens, photocopies, photographs, repetitions) so that the same drawing is repeated in all its possible and impossible versions and variations. Thus an eternal, everlasting, redefinition of the limits of the dynamics of drawing is evoked. The saying “imagine if God was confined to Adam and Eve the first week without creating any variations of them,” automatically brings to mind the Platonic theory where the subservient and the absolutely faithful imitation of things, on one hand reproduces clones where the identity of each one is indiscernable, on the other hand leads to a ridiculous repetition of objects depriving from them the dynamics of the symbol. Lazongas creates fertile conditions for the perpetual reproduction of a work, extending thus possibly indefinitely his drawing limits. This process leads to “catoptric drawings”, as he calls them, while with the parallel and palimpsest deposition, large drawn transparencies, the initial idea experiences repeated modifications up to the final result.

 

Efthimis Y. Lazongas

* From the catalogue of Yorgos Lazongas’s exhibition “Sirens”, Municipal Gallery of Larissa – G.I. Katsigras Museum, Larissa, 2009.