Born in Patras in 1975, he studied Painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts under Dimitris Mytaras and graduated in 2000. In 2015 he received summa cum laude a postgraduate Diploma in Educational Sciences from the Nursery School Teachers department of the University of Western Macedonia, specialising in Creative Writing (title of thesis: “The Visual Character of N.G. Pentzikis’s Prose”). He lives and works in Athens.
Art Space 24•
Polyedron Art Gallery•
Ekfrasi – Yianna Grammatopoulou Gallery•
Polyedron Art Gallery•
Kostas Siafakas, painting exhibition at Art Space 24
12 May-10 June 2011
When we talk about art, we can do so in various ways; we can talk about specific works of art, artists, the reactions they caused, reviews that were written or were influential, theories that prevailed, etc.
Almost always, in the midst of all this, we forget or do not know that art is like faith, that there is a secret element that drives it, a hidden hue that lights it up, a psychic underground current that meets with what, in other times, used to be known as “heavenly”. What is for certain, in any case, is that art remains a mystical matter, understood and fostered by the initiated. The sad thing is that, during these “hard times”, as Hölderlin used to say, many of the ostensibly initiated either betray art, or their initiation is lacking: almost as if they ‘bribed’ someone to gain access to the sanctum.
Since an earlier exhibition in 2006, this painter gave out peace and harmony. When painting does not provoke, does not scream, does not rape (primarily the eyes), it is either something neutral or something admirable. Because it reveals a reconciliation. The reconciliation of the artist with himself and with nature. Which, ultimately, means with the secret side of things. To capture the peace of a landscape, it is not enough to skilfully represent its shape and colour: you must be able to meet with it internally. Not to conquer it, but to allow it to conquer you. The prerequisite, of course, is that exercise that demands you make space within yourself: to allow things to take shape not from you but through you.
What Siafakas captures in his work is his relationship with things, and not merely their place in space. This way, he achieves a great unity of shapes and colours. In his best work, colour is paramount, the way it absorbs the shape, and while things are fixed in the space, they transcend it, at the same time. In his latest exhibition, he showed work from the past four years. The main difference from his previous work is an intense luminescence. There are oil paintings, watercolours, pencil drawings, portraits.
The painter does not stop at the external description of people and things. He seems to go further, searching for peaceful beauty, a reprieve that you reach by crossing or transcending the dispersion, the extroversion, the fragmentary nature, of the era and society. He is aware that he is called upon, especially in our days, to perform a massive abstraction – primarily of that which we are bombarded with – daily and with absolute focus on the work: to see in order to share, rather than to see in order to represent. To assimilate the simplicity, the beauty, the peace, the rhythm. Among the masters, Cezanne taught him that what he can see is “the spectacle spread before our eyes by the Pater Omnipotens, Aeterne Deus”. Thus, he shows us things and people in a different way. Even his pencil drawings familiarise us with a different sense of life, which abolishes the ephemeral and delivers to the gaze something of eternity, or mystery.