CM: Although a new painter, Vassilis Liaouris has shown his interest in almost every subject area. His work deals with the human figure, scenes of everyday life, portraiture, landscape and still life. In all these multifaceted searches he transposes on his canvas color in its most expressive form, without reducing the quality of visual reality.
In 2008, Vassilis Liaouris held at Adam Gallery in Athens an exhibition entitled Football Factory. This exhibition on the theme of European football was held as a tribute to Greek national team, which won the title in Euro 2004, but also for its participation in Euro 2008. On this occasion the painter presented a group of twenty-two paintings. It was an event expressing thanks and admiration for the beauty of youth. It was a ritual of football for those who participated, an apotheosis of sports. Liaouris, passionate with this issue during the inauguration of his exhibition said: "I engaged and painted this subject, football, because it pleases me. I am a fan and follow football in stadiums, otherwise I would not have bothered".
Created with oil on canvas, the artist records with ease the rapid movement of athletes, the detail of the emotions they feel, the intense action of the moment, the expressions on their face during their effort, their injury, their celebration of success. The figures balance in their backgrounds, while creating the illusion to the beholder that they have escaped from the confines of the canvas. An illusion so strong that our participation induces a virtual reality with intensity and passion. Insisting on the individuality of the player, the painter struggles with the body. As is the case with the face, they look at us with every molecule of their body, while avoiding strict frontal stance. Liaouris paints the world of football with the eyes, as he sees it, with the persistence of a modest artisan. The portraits slide from the world of realistic representation, thanks to their humble materiality. No doubt, the view that football is a sport made for men leads to a particular form of athlete on the field, which is both intensely emotional and sportive. There is a tacit sensuality which connects with the muscularity and the dexterity of the player. Jumping, running, and performing difficult movements requires great deal of courage, stamina, strength and speed of athletes. Liaouris creates his compositions with great expressiveness in terms of design and colors. He creates the illusion of real players moving inside the stadium, at certain phases. Great variety of color - green, red, yellow, blue and black - and plenty of the athletes' movements with their facial expressions in various phases of the match form compositions of painted and natural elements. The paintings refer mainly to the Greek teams and their players in characteristic gestures, positions, efforts and expressions.
Liaouris created his pictures for Football Factory on the basis of photographs from the matches. The present picture presents two players - the Portuguese Evaristo Jesus Bonfim Manu of the Athletics Union of Constantinople (AEK) with yellow colors and Stavros Tziortziopoulos of the Panhellenic Athletic Union of Xanthi (PAE Xanthi) - claiming the ball. Herewith the painter captures on paint a classical snapshot of the match. Of course Liaouris' intention was not to reproduce a photograph, but rather to capture a sense of athletic action, almost like memory. Therefore the outcome of the match is not of the importance ascribed to it by fans, but Liaouris argues that logically Xanthi would have lost because AEK was playing in its own base. The artwork is entitled Original, which is an alternative name of AEK.
[Megakles Rogakos 08/2008]
MELISSINOU-PAPADAKIS, JENNY Vassilis Liaouris: Football Factory 2008 Adam Gallery, Athens