VASSILIS LIAOURIS The Imaginary Companion of Lafcadio Hearn 2009 - x +

CN: LiVa2009imag

MT: oil on paper (45x19 / F:59x32x2)

TX: signed with brush at lower left of picture in Anglish <LIAOURIS 09>

CT: Adam Gallery, Athens - 2009

CM: In the article entitled "The Ghost" published in Harper's New Monthly Magazine (Vol. 80, issue 475, p.116-119) in 1889, Lafcadio Hearn writes with poetic disposition that the "civilized nomad, whose wanderings are [...] simply compelled by certain necessities of his being" is more than likely to make acquaintances of ghosts. Might such nomad be Lafcadio himself? More than half a century later, in 1941, psychologists Lauretta Bender and Frank B. Vogel in their article entitled "Imaginary Companions and Related Phenomena" (Journal of Orthopsychiatry, v.11, p.56-65) described a phenomenon according to which someone feels a presence next to him without having visual contact with it. According to experts, such a feeling is experienced by mountaineers, seamen, shipwrecked persons, and especially young children. This presence is usually identified with a particular protector or - especially for adults - an uninvited invader. Thus, the ghost of Lafcadio and the imaginary companion of Bender & Vogel is perhaps one and the same.

Being interested in this delicate point, where art and science intersect, Vassilis Liaouris painted the present work and gave it the title The Imaginary Companion of Lafcadio Hearn. In his painting Liaouris gave color to Lafcadio's sepia portrait of 1891 in Matsue, Japan. Herewith, Liaouris represented Lafcadio standing on the mosaic floor of his workshop in Athens. He wears a kimono in the reddish hues of the Rising Sun. In front of him emerges the otherworldly entity Lafcadio refers to. It is colorless and intangible, without gender, but with Japanese characteristics. It is like a sprite or spirit that associates with him in a metaphysical way. It is the guardian angel that follows him everywhere and always advises him because it means well. As Lafcadio proposes in his article, "if a man wants to live intelligently, he must always remain a slave to these unique internal forces that do not have rational origins, and would often surprise him as much with their ability to govern as with their continuing fierce opposition to each material interest of his".

[Megakles Rogakos 05/2009]