Nikos Siskos

Siskos Nikos
© Aris Siskos

Born and raised in Volos in 1974, he graduated summa cum laude from the Athens School of Fine Arts (2001-2006), where he studied Painting under Dimitris Sakellion and Giorgos Kazazis on an A.S.F.A. scholarship (2002-2004). In 2007 he won an Academy of Athens award. He lives and works in Athens.


Solo Exhibitions


Abnormalities Genesis Gallery Athens


Epic Ena Art Gallery Athens


Dreamland Giorgio de Chirico Art Centre Volos


Manimals Ekfrasi – Yianna Grammatopoulou Gallery Athens


Les Femmes fatales Ekfrasi – Yianna Grammatopoulou Gallery Athens


Sinners Ekfrasi – Yianna Grammatopoulou Gallery Athens


Nikos Siskos: A Hybrid World, Like a Secret Garden

The world of Nikos Siskos is defined by its contradictions. Through the landscapes he invents, which are often reminiscent of Renaissance escapes and grotesque forests, his figures emerge: hybrids of genders and emotional states, madonnas and trolls, horned cupids, young girls in Alice’s Wonderland, mermaids and androgynous creatures, dark cherubs and innocent Centaurs. In a sense, the population in the work of Nikos Siskos arises from a semi-transparent, ambiguous and hallucinogenic zone on the verge of twilight.

This delusional version of a parallel reality imbues the work of Nikos Siskos with the power of an innate contradiction and a by definition self-cancellation. Because the sarcastic approach to fragments from the world of fantasy and dreams endows them with a dark light and a shining darkness, to the point where you can hardly be certain of anything when looking at the work of Nikos Siskos.

That, besides, is a prerequisite, fundamental and non-negotiable, for a viewer to stand before these works. To put aside, like a soldier putting down his weapons, the first layer of the cultural veneer of everyday life, along with his preconceptions, his superstitions and his fixations. To stand, half-naked, as a viewer in a half-light of consciousness, and to allow himself to be swept away, to commune with the primeval landscape of a prepubescent innocence. Except that, in this landscape, innocence is defined by a re-baptised interpretation of a fluid eroticism and a pervasive awkwardness before anything to do with the linear, geometrical and square version of the world.

In this newly-established condition, the boundaries disperse, intersect and define themselves, both undermining and legitimising their opposing components. Genders are refracted, History is recycled, symbols are exiled and the image of Man is shaken up. Creatures are transsexual, animal or human-shaped, flesh or ethereal, pixies, fairies, fantasies, wet dreams, nightmares and baptismal fonts of redemption. They originate from the burrows of the earth and the hollows of the trees, they are distillations of sleepwalking, and projections of morbid figments of the imagination. They are hyper-realistic re-compositions of deep origin stories. And allegorical simplifications of oedipal associations.

This allegorical, parabolical mood imbues the works of Nikos Siskos with the value of a narrative composed of the scared and the secular in almost equal measures. Τhey are run through by sacrilegious evangelical rhetoric and defined by virtuous pagan philosophy. They are alloy, amalgam, vortex and helix.

Like extensions of films by Tim Burton, with anaemic or obvious affinities with the pop culture of comics, illustration, the punk movement, pulp fiction, popularised fairytales, fantasy literature and ambience music, the works of Nikos Siskos are both eye-opening and hypnotic. They subjugate and they provoke. They put together fantasies with 16th century costumes, the heroes of Lewis Carroll, with echoes of the aesthetic of Pierre et Gilles, chapters from medieval German fairy tales and shadows of Renaissance Madonnas. This hybrid world of Nikos Siskos is revealed as a palimpsest of fantasies and as a constant garden of secret desires that break free.


Nikos Vatopoulos
* From the catalogue of Nikos Siskos’s exhibition “Epic”, Ena Art Gallery, Athens, 2015.