IL: ACG - Communications Building, Graduate Faculty Office of Dr. Pavlos Vlachos
CM: Given the opportunity of a group exhibition entitled The Cities of Rigas at Moraitis School in 1998, Zacharias Arvanitis presented a portrait of the honored revolutionary, Rigas Fereos (1757-1798), which at first glance looks simple, but is actually technically complex. The image of Rigas originates from the two-hundred drachma bank note of 1996, which is arguably unskilful. Arvanitis engraved on wood the face of Rigas enlarged and printed it on paper. Aiming to go beyond a recognizable representation of the face, the artist chose to redefine the realistic version of the portrait. He used the mould to make a print on crumpled paper. Then he spread open the paper and glued on it various bits and pieces of other prints of the portrait's first version.
For his choice to deviate from realistic portraiture, Arvanitis explained: "The deconstruction of the image is the idea and axis along which I generally work. In this portrait I tried to evoke the explosive and fiery character of Rigas Fereos personality. His ideas of rising against the yoke of tyranny resulted in the conditions that eventually led to the Greek Revolution of 1821. It is worth noting that Arvanitis chose to accentuate '1821' - the year associated with the outbreak of the Greek Revolution, which came much after Rigas' execution in 1798 - with cut-out red numbers glued against the background over black numbers acting as shadows. Arvanitis explained: "The year 1821 justifies the vision of Rigas at his time as much for the Greek Revolution as for every subsequent revolutions." With this artwork Arvanitis restructures the personality of Rigas, as the foremost representative of the Neohellenic Enlightenement.
[Megakles Rogakos 12/2006]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Silent Dialogues: Multimedia Portraits Throughout Time 2008 The American College of Greece, Athens