CM: Sarandis Karavousis' Portrait of Nikos Grigorakis is testimony to the special relationship of friendship between two eminent people in the field of art - the expert critic and the main representative of the Greek metaphysical painting. Indeed Yakinthos Gallery, under the direction of Grigorakis, presented a personal exhibition on Karavouzis in 1984.
Karavousis worked on the portrait from a photograph taken in his workshop. The drawing started in December 1991 in Paris and was completed in July 1992. The artist staged Grigorakis to pose seated with his hands folded on his bended knees. It is worth noticing the love with which Karavousis represented the hands and especially the fingers of his friend. Grigorakis is shown wearing a blazer with tie and scarf. Grigorakis is famous for his habit of wearing at all seasons a silk scarf around his neck, which can be described as one of his key fashion characteristics and trademark.
In the background appears a characteristic picture by Karavouzis that - by using the perspective aid of picture-within-picture - presents a landscape of memory. Herewith is a dreamy archaeological site that creates an impressive atmosphere, causing viewers deep feelings of abandonment and loneliness, from which the gentle presence of the model delivers. Such reference to antiquity on the one hand betrays the source of metaphysicality for Karavouzis the painter and on the other the foundation of classical knowledge of Grigorakis the critic.
On the occasion of the sitter's familiar face, the painter takes the opportunity to present his own idiosyncrasy - the soft pastel drawing and the palette of smooth colors. In this case Karavousis created his picture through a veil of predominantly purple tones, to relieve the contents from their materiality and to endow them with a metaphysical air. The 'soft' rendering of forms, with harmonious colors, is characteristic. This way Karavousis manages to create a highly erotic atmosphere which is otherworldly and metaphysical, above which floats a sense of mystery and enigma, as if something is to happen.
In closing, it is worth noting Nikos Grigorakis' thought about his portraits that various artists have created: "Many noble men, great leaders and important people of other eras, commissioned artists to do their portraits. However this does not mean much. Often the sitters were forgotten by history, while the name of the artist would survive time, if their portrait turned out to be beautiful. In my case, the portraits painted of me have a completely different starting point. On the one hand, they expressed the special relationship between the artist and me. On the other hand, they served a kind of experimentation, on the variety of aproaches different artists employ to represent the same sitter. Finally, perhaps I have been affected by The Picture of Dorian Gray." [Nikos Grigorakis to Despina Vourna 1994, p.459-466] Karavousi's Portrait of Nikos Grigorakis adorned the cover of 'Sylloges' (Collections) magazine in June 1994.
[Megakles Rogakos 01/2007]
VOURNA, DESPINA Cultural Portrait: Nikos Grigorakis: 15 Years Offer to Art 1994 Sylloges, Athens, p.459-466 [Greek]
GRIGORAKIS, NIKOS Sarandis Karavousis: The Key Representative of the Greek Metaphysical Painting 2005 Karditsa Municipal Gallery [Greek]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Silent Dialogues: Multimedia Portraits Throughout Time 2008 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens