STEFANOS AMOURGIANOS Athens - London 2007 [R/V/C] - x +

CN: AmoS2007AtLo

MT: oil on wood (30x34x5)

TX: signed with brush at rear lower center in Greek <S.AMOURGIANOS>

DN: Mr. Christos P. Michalopoulos - 2009

CM: The history of painting relates to the evolution of the image. The Renaissance saw the image as a projection of a visual world that starts from the surface and recedes in the distance. This perception was continued more vigorously in the Baroque, which created an illusionist image. Then, in the 20th century, Modernism acquitted painting from narrative to bring it to the surface. Later, Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly managed to radically propose to the viewer the option of perceiving the artwork not as a picture projected on its surface, but as an object. Furthering the post-modern paradigm Amourgianos created formatted images that can be described as drawn objects. Thus he avoided the two-dimensional narrative of painting. § In the period 2002 - 2005 Amourgianos painted a series of works, with reference to the square as a window to the world, which must be challenged in order to be grasped. Unless it is done with sincerity, this can become a dangerous experiment, because - as it leads to deadlocks - it can cause aesthetic 'suicide'. Amourgianos set himself the task to contest the square by playing with the grid, which is theoretically - as internal structure - a convention in painting. He sought to try out how experimentation with the grid can ruin while effectively preserve in a conceptual manner the square's identity. beginning from the grid in the square's substratum, which with vertical and horizontal lines divides the space into 25 subspaces, Amourgianos Both unified by means of color the patterns of 'Π' and 'Ξ' which clasp onto one another. If these two patterns clasped entirely together they would form a perfect square, but in this case they deconstruct the square. Gradually Amourgianos infringed his own rules. While the Academy claims that an artwork should be characterized by a sharp contrast, in the present work Amourgianos juxtaposes the two kindred tones of blue - dark and light. The great teachers of art also suggest that a perfect geometric shape must be perfectly painted, and any alternative would be considered poor. Amourgianos wanted to show that his painting is an object, which in order to come into being goes through a process, which deserves to be disclosed. By insisting on the two dimensions of painting, Amourgianos wanted his work to present only one fine side. The other side is occupied by dribbling, which are accidents that betray the process of making. He chose to leave that latter side of the work incomplete to highlight its three-dimensional nature. Thus was Athens - London produced, which is a sketch for a monumental work. The title refers to the fact that in the recent past the artist moves back and forth between various cities and the works are created by being here and there. Connecting things that happen in his life, Amourgianos titles his works based on facts that he experienced while creating them. He leaves one place to go somewhere else and then he makes another move again. This coincidence of cities in the title - which is essentially not intentionally, but commanded by chance - reveals an interesting case of 'concurrent heterotopias'. [Megakles Rogakos 07/2009]

What are the new realities of abstract painting; Does abstraction have the possibility to play an essential role in the development of painting art today? One thing is certain: abstract art stoically endured the relentless attacks and the successive obituaries on its final death; it survived without being the only viable kind of painting, without in other words being the canon of painting, as happened in the 1950s. Stefanos Amourgianos is a painter who has systematically studied the history of modern art, and particularly abstract painting. The art historian George Kubler wrote: "No formal sequence is ever truly completed in an exhaustion of all its possibilities in a consistent series of solutions. A re-evaluation of all problems under new conditions is always possible and sometimes indeed topical" [The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things, 1962 / 2008 Yale University Press, New Haven]. Based on the reasoning of the above sentence it could be argued that Amourgianos attempts to redefine visual problems that preoccupied specific artists like Ellsworth Kelly and Frank Stella. Issues such as the waiving of any kind of referential content, the reduction of the work in its primacy as object (that is, painting surface and subsurface), the ontological autonomy of the painting object, the identification of painting and content, the nature of the subsurface and how this determines the shape and extent of the painting surface, the way the edges of the stretchers replace the outlines in painting and create a new set, the brightness of color (inspired by the latter collages of Henri Matisse), seems to lie at the root of the research intent of the works by Amourgianos. § The artist himself, well informed on these issues, explains given the opportunity of this artwork in the ACG Art Collection: "This artwork entitled Athens - London of 2007 opens a third series of works dealing with the convention of the square. In the first series my intention was to get rid of the notion of work-picture and the problems involving this definition of painting. Investigating the matter, I felt the efforts of modern painting as far as Barnett Newman and Ad Reinhardt not to fully satisfy me. This was because their work - although quite abstract - continue in a paradoxical way to be perceived as images, i.e. representations. The solution of the problem is found by Kelly, and better still Stella, who create abstract works that are not square or rectangular, but have another shape, which coincides exactly with the composition and are now seen as works-objects (shaped canvas). The destruction of the rectangular shape that we as viewers identify with the concept of image-representation was the means of transition from work-image to work-object. Following their example, I tried to create painted objects using as forms, readymade or modified commercial signs and logos. In the second series the main objective was to get rid of my references, while maintaining as consistent link the reflection on the square. This time I do not dismiss it. On the contrary, over perfectly square surfaces I place - in a more or less systematic way - circular forms, using one of the structures of the square, the grid. I then try to create a shallow painting space bound by the pattern in which the grid is transformed owing to color and the circles whose dimension plays with the depth. Of course, during this second series, a representational disposition returned indirectly, only to be halted in the third series, which Athens - London launches. Herewith I consciously gave up the circular forms. I retain the grid to create a color pattern, but subsequently deconstruct it by forming a shaped canvas, returning again to my original goal, the work-object". [Christos P. Michalopoulos - Art Historian / translated from Greek by Megakles Rogakos]