Born in Larissa in 1976, he received his first Drawing lessons by the sculptor Christos Makropoulos. He studied Painting at the University of Fine Arts in Florence (1997-2001) two years after his residency at the University of Fine Arts in Lecce (southern Italy). He attended Set Design seminars (2005-2008) at the laboratory of Maria Chaniotaki. He engages in the writing of plays, painting murals in public spaces. Works by him can be found at the State Museum of Contemporary Art (MOMus – Museum of Modern Art – Costakis Collection) in Thessaloniki and various private collections. He lives and works in Athens.
And they climb the mountain, throwing off an item of clothing with each step to cleanse themselves of anything that is there for the sake of appearances; to redeem themselves from all unbearable futility. They shed their fake identities, corrupted by the masks of pretence. They want to reach their Essence, that which is never Human enough for them. They aim for immaterial places, where achievement means only to be Yourself. Naked and vulnerable, at the top of the mountain that glows in the black of night, they make the ultimate effort… Because on this pulsating spot, the steep rock, there is an uncharted meeting place. A ‘meeting point’ in these incalculable heights. Where the floating souls of the dead, washed of their sins, speak to those of the fighting climbers, the ‘mountaineers of catharsis’.
Sitting on the floor of the ‘workshop of revelations’, Konstantinos Papargiris scratches and etches the mysterious substance onto the spread-out canvas, bringing to life, with inspired and spontaneous gestures, the neutral ochre and its charged hues. With his worn-down brushes, which he dries in the sun and trims again and again, he paints the rustle of moving leaves. Later, when the malleable nature has been captured in acrylics or oils, on the rough canvas, Papargiris finally throws away the crippled brushes.
“I no longer want to create images. I want to be created by them. I no longer wish to impose my vision upon the paper or the canvas. I allow my works to be born of need. To be liberated from me. And I liberated from them. And to reveal to me who I am. Basically, I no longer want to have complete control over everything that happens on the canvas. I want to give way to whatever comes naturally, from my mind and my hand. That is why, lately, I leave a lot of space to chance and to instinct. I dictate almost nothing. My initial ideas ultimately transform into something completely different. Personally, I consider this progress. Liberation. But it doesn’t mean that I become complacent. Quite the opposite. I pay attention, I listen with much focus and openness to what the emerging image has to say. It speaks, primarily, about me, and each time I discover myself a little more. That is how I learn who I am, without remaining captive to my influences. Even though they reveal themselves naturally in my work.
In this work, one can identify references to myths.
Parcifal, in particular, has a strong presence.
As are the Gospels, the bearers of good news. The Saints.
The Protectors. Byzantium. Fairy tales. A certain mysticism that suits me quite well. And also certain patterns that are reminiscent of primal art or the Incas. I would dare say that I have reached the point where Painting is the one that paints me.”
And what do I see? A sweet, dream-like poetry, in this world that’s only just pink, only just blue, only just real… “Geometrised” patterns, but given in such a personal, disarming way that they immediately remind me of Papargiris’s characteristic hand gestures. The gestures of a soul soaked in images of Mycenae and Egypt. A style influenced by the East, the Middle Ages, and Folk Art. In this enchanting field, the fine branches of delicate trees offer us, paradoxically, another chance to ‘rise’. But is it us who draw strength from this sophisticated vegetation, which we grasp so we can ‘climb the air’ and change our atmosphere? So we can go from the ground to the clouds? Or is it, conversely, forceful Nature that detects, in our imperfect innocence, the marks of journeys that would lead us to an ideal mutation? Do we, ourselves, “mortal and perishable material”, perhaps comprise a useful ‘database’, a manual to cover our deficiencies and, collectively, improve? Who then, us or She, holds the means for fixing this world? Who has the most resources to repair it before it breaks? Who needs the other in order to perfect the Whole? According to Konstantinos Papargiris, there is no doubt: interaction is unavoidable in order to give meaning to what we call “Development”.
For the time being, it seems we are nothing more than puppets. ‘Humanised dolls’ tied to the strings of our sceptic but truly human creator. The regulator of our common actions, he remains, however, All Alone. Isolated and entangled in the painted texture that Papargiris passionately organised. The rest of us, the little people, exchangeable and manipulated, have barely been sketched. But can you hear the sound of the paradox? An out-of-tune musical string that opens up routes to new possibilities? Look! The producer of the little people that we are has placed us high, as if he defies the law of gravity. We do not float, of course, in celestial infinity, but the strings do not stop us from Rising. Our wizard is kindly and he keeps hold of us so we do not lose ourselves in dimensions so high that would be unfathomable. He shows us only the direction: Upwards.
Man is a builder. He erects temples whose columns rise up to levels that only enlightened souls can reach. He invents complex structures. He implements incredible visions. Man, in an obsessive effort to transcend his impermanence, creates. Sometimes, he is flooded by imagination and ingenuity. He dies “on the job”. He is constantly reinventing the Beautiful, in his attempt to leave his mark upon this flowing Nature. Notice, however, in that irresistible work, the ‘flaming’ bird that nestles in a perfectly constructed universe, Papargiris’s conception. There, within that dense and highly poetic field, the obvious Conclusion is revealed. In a feast of elegant visual details, the Living stands out unforced. The most important human creations could, perhaps, be compared to those of Nature. But what vibrates… What captures the attention in every case, as grand as it may be, is still what is Alive. What no one and in no way can freeze. So, let us live. And let us leave, in our wake, if we can, traces of beauty. Let us respect, however, this Nature, that through its constant rebirth stands as the Primary Creation and the Ultimate Artist who offers us, generously and with trust, a framework wherein to exist and create.
Marina Kanakaki Art Historian – Museologist