Nikos Moschos

Moschos Nikos
© Christos Simatos

Born in Heraklion, Crete in 1979, he took his first Painting lessons by his father, Takis Moschos. From 1997 to 2003, he studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts, Painting under Chronis Botsoglou and Photography under Manolis Baboussis. He has painted numerous works for book covers, cd’s, films, magazines, newspapers etc. In 2003 he was commissioned to create a portrait of Antonis Benakis, which is part of the permanent collection of the Benaki Museum.His work has been acquired by the Benaki Museum / Athens, Sammlung-Schirm / Berlin, PTE Fine Arts / New York, Bernard Cheong Collection / Singapore, the Anthony and Asia Hadjioannou Collection, the Viannos Art Gallery “Savvas Petrakis”, the Heraklion Museum of Visual Arts. He lives and works in Athens.

Works

Solo Exhibitions

2016

Inevitable Nature Swab Art Fair 2016 Barcelona (Ena Contemporary Art)

2014

Swab Art Fair 2014 Barcelona (Alma Contemporary Art Gallery)

2013

Art Athina Athens (PenindaplinEna Art Gallery)

2012

The Marriage of Flesh and Machine Xippas Gallery Athens

2010

Galerie Theorema Brussels

2007

A Wonderful New World Ekfrasi – Yianna Grammatopoulou Gallery Athens

Press

The Marriage of Flesh and Machine in the Paintings of Nikos Moschos

He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.

Dr Johnson, (on the frontispiece of Hunter S. Thompson’s, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”)

Nikos Moschos makes a convincing argument on the issue of what does one paint today. In an age where the medium has only one single choice: to reinvent itself ab initio (or at least beyond a certain point) in order to stand convincingly before the fairground of media, pop music and movies. In other words, to stand on its own two feet, to exist in an independent state, away from the mothball environment of museums and the (unbearable) weight of the past and of history (which weigh down far less on the media, pop music and films). Of course, nowadays, painting should be finding itself in a privileged position that contrasts with the commercial breakdown of other visual media-video, installations or photography – as well as the broad-ranging crisis they are facing (conceptual art is, yet again in its history, in danger of becoming an object of ridicule and caricature, due to its eccentricities).

In Nikos Moschos’s painting, human flesh, machinery, cars, brass musical instruments and ruins of newly-built buildings are compressed. The distortion of architectural space and visual breadth, which he has expressed over the passed view years, attains a marginal deconstruction of forms and symbols in this exhibition. This vast slaughterhouse, where colours, shapes and information are quashed, could give rise ti individual discussions for every one of the basic themes in Moschos’ painting. For example, how the human flesh depicted contrive to wink an eye to the entire history of the medium, from Michelangelo to Liberatore’s post-industrial comics? Of course, what is most likely, is that Moschos is in discourse with painting alone, in and of itself, wherein, unequivocally, lie his roots. However, the unconventional methods he follows, lead him down unexpected pathways, where, perhaps, even he himself had not dreamed to go.

Perhaps because a painter’s eye has to look everywhere (at televisions, print, the metropolis surrounding him) and not only at books or art museums. Moschos the painter bases his work in a centuries-old tradition of distortion and disproportion of human parts, ranging from wood carvings in Africa and Oceania, to the formulation of a European tradition in caricature that arrows in the 18th century and, thereafter, the adoption of similar practices by the modernists in the 20th century- Picasso first and foremost opposed classicist insistence on specific body proportions. At the same time, by deconstructing the human body in series of painted works, geometrical and architectural space is distorted in its boundaries: the visuals resemble those of a fish-eye or wide-angle lens. The geometrical distortion of perspective contorts doors and rooms and transforms them into loci of the absurd. Architectural space, wherever it doesn’t break down altogether, is undercut.

Does perspective constitute a medium to express the essence of things to the degree that its supporters claim, I wonder? And consequently, should it be considered a conditio sine qua non for artistic creativity? Or, conversely, does it constitute yet another form of represantation, which does not summarise the overall interpretation of the world but one single contingency thereof, which concerns a specific insight and way of life? Or does, perhaps, perspective rendition of the world constitute its honest portrayal, the real tidings of the world? But even in such an instance, the experience of modernism in painting during the 20th century responded to this question. Or perhaps the polar opposite of this opinion is that perspective equals a distinct system of transcription, an alternative premise, which highlights the position, the time framework and the world view of those who conceived it, while still allowing the existence of father corresponding systems? Systems which perchance have perceived in greater depth the true shape of things; to a degree, in fact, where, diverging from the principles of perspective, they draw ever nearer to the essence, without in the slightest altering the truth they represent.

Or that the deconstruction that Moschos reserves for the architectural shapes presents a paradoxical proximity to traditional Byzantine usage of the same thing. This is why it is most likely not in the least random, as the artist use to observe his father, a painter, when painting wall frescos for churches. The painter’s most recent works appear post-apocalyptic. Everything has been torn down and scrunched up, one on top of the other. A contemporary world stricken and liquefied in the artist’s blender and squashed thin by a deathly press. We can’t know whether the artist is referring to the current condition or the global crisis, however, and this is a future of important art, we can rejoice in viewing it as a mirror of our contemporary lives, even if what we see appears to be anything but apetising or hope-nurturing.

Moschos could almost be a addressing the massive wall paintings of the Mexican Muralistas, David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco (although he appears not to be and this to be a figment of my imagination), where a distorted image of a world collapsing and a new world being born (republican Mexico) dissolves within it old tyrants and rising heroes. Perhaps, however, Moschos isn’t interested in them. Or even in the edgy literature of J.G. Ballard and Hunter S. Thompson. But I too may be right; as the hallucinatory savagery in Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, or the lust for joining flesh and machine through deadly car accidents in J.G. Ballard’s “Crash”, aren’t far distant from correspondingly extreme situations in the work of Nikos Moschos. But I also think of it, when I see once again the Californian paintings presented, usually, by the magazine “Juxtapoz”. It’s strange…

I believe that these paintings by Moschos can bear comparison in any framework, which contemporary debate in our society can set. It contains the major features of the human condition, as this has taken shape over the past few years: breathing life into a tired and replete artistic medium ( with a history, however, which distinguishes it from almost any other) and does this in a manner that appears as fresh as it does historically concrete. Perhaps we should be glad of these historical happenstance, as never before has there appeared to be a more ideal atmosphere to evaluate such work. It appears it’s time to build the new era somewhere from this very point. Let us abandon ourselves to the feverish climes of Nikos Moschos’s painting and allow it to take us where it wills…

 

Thanassis Moutsopoulos
* From the catalogue of Nikos Moschos’s exhibition “The Marriage of Flesh and Machine”, Xippas Gallery, Athens, 2012.