Eftihis Patsourakis has been exploring identity and memory through the years and as his practice and work develop, deriving his inspiration and research from the vernacular imagery of the everyday, the bygone and the so-called forgotten, he has created a universe of apparitions and has become the master of remakes.
A classic gatherer of immense amounts of thrown away matter, who then selects it and reuses it, either when the work takes its final form as an installation, or a painting of a photograph chosen amidst hundreds that rest in the darkness of family albums or the boxes populating flea markets and various shops in his home town Athens. For the past ten years he has been mainly painting.
There are parallel streams that emerge from the studio, seemingly diverse, though deeply connected and like through alchemical processes the one vessel feeds the other quietly, through what seems like an invisible tube, creating a spider’s web, carefully woven, fragile but firm, unseen at times and quietly present.
The photorealistic paintings, comprised by the series Headless, Still and Pause (2012-present), owe their existence to a massive ever-growing archive of found photos, mini memorials, that originate from the birth of the handy cam, meaning the 70s, 80s and 90s and end with the birth of the digital image, when the printing processes cease.
That was a time the local communities of all the world were slowly transforming into an international network of a new class of travellers, conscious of themselves and their images, with styles seemingly similar and a sense of humanity that eventually became a homogenous universality of situations, places, poses, expectations and dreams through constructed images of themselves, oneself, ourselves.
This body of work talks explicitly about a ‘we’ and a ‘now’ and chooses to bring back the lost time of a photographic mistake first by selecting it, meaning bringing it back to life, seen by new eyes this time that do not recognise anything else inside those images but themselves.
It is this familiarity that occurs with recognition that one can say identity takes shape. Patsourakis paints with oil on wood, a slow process opposing the speediness the handy cam was promising to its users.
The ether-like works on canvas are the result of a much freer process, unrelated to any obvious image, instead a need to paint as the thing in itself becomes apparent and manifested through this new group of paintings Untitled, presented at both galleries for the first time.
Using soft pinks, baby blues and yellows mixed with greys and painting with candles - the smoke marks the canvas and colour with heat, and in turn paint is applied on the smoked surfaces - a battle ensues between the light, the source of warmth and vision with that of the artificial nature of paint, giving these works a soothing yet apocalyptic character, liberated by their fluid nature. They are the product of uncertain times where solid notions, ideas and ideologies of the past melt and merge into something new, something yet to be defined. And still, as is with human nature, the eye strives for recognition, and whether accidentally or intentionally we find a body here, a cloud there, that appear and vanish as they do.
Like in a constant state of flux, these paintings allure us to espaces plein air, like windows onto skies, ceiling frescoes or water ponds from the History of Art, and none of the above; they are abstractions made with paint and smoke.
It is with enthusiasm to enter the season with a series of exhibitions by Eftihis Patsourakis at the gallery juxtaposed with a solo presentation at ARCO, Madrid (Feb 22-26). As Painting marks the fourth exhibition of the artist with the gallery, we are excited to present this body of abstract works for the first time alongside a stream of new photorealistic paintings.