CM:The Message is one of a large group of known collages that Odysseus Elytis, the great poet, made from the 1960s onwards. Ascribing to the Surrealist movement in literature, Elytis was fascinated by the technique of photocollage, in keeping with the practice of numerous surrealist artists before him; such as Claude Cahun, Joseph Cornell, Max Ernst, George Grosz, Hannah Höch, Georges Hugnet, Conroy Maddox, Pierre Molinier, Jindrich Styrsky, and Karel Teige. Here Elytis creates the image of an angel hovering over a small port against a Greek landscape to give her blessing on boats. With Elytis' unconditional love for women, the angel is female; her breasts exposed. The originality of Elytis' vision is demonstrated by the solution he came up with in using sea-shells for the angel's wings and skirt. To arrive at this extraordinary collage, Elytis has ingeniously combined as few as seven pictures from scraps of tourist magazines and catalogues. Like every one of Elytis' photocollages, The Message typifies a style that is very much his own; artworks of Grecian vocabulary and sheer beauty.
Kimon Friar wrote the following commentary in relation to this picture: "In the collage The Message Elytis depicts Lasithi, that inland green valley of innumerable windmills in Crete, beloved by Elytis as the island of his birth and which he had always wished had been implanted by the sea. Rectifying an error made by nature, he had wedged onto this inland landscape a harbor filled with multi-colored boats anchored on its created shores, and below the sea he has placed an inverted mountain and a sky again, so that both landscape and seascape float suspended in the air. Indeed, in his poems, mulberry trees set sail on the grass's foam, the sun plants gardens on surf, gardens enter the sea like promontories or bridal beds, and a cereal sea sustains huge cowsheds. Sea, sky and land in Greece are One. In the sky above the windmills is a young, angelic, full-breasted girl encased in a rosy seashell (heavenly Aphrodite born not out of the sky) whose wings are made of other seashells turned inside out to reveal their gloss of mother-of-pearl. She comes flying, bringing a message, her hand raised in benediction."
[Megakles Rogakos 11/2004]
ARANITSIS, EUGENIOS Odysseus Elytis: The Room with The Pictures 1986 Ikaros, Athens