CM: Christos Sarakatsianos' Self-Portrait is part of a series of large scale portraiture. Influenced by his long service (in the 1950s and 1960s) at producing giant posters for George Vakirtzi's workshop, Sarakatsianos transferred a small sketch of a self-portrait onto a woodcut of respectable size. Sarakatsianos generally considers portraits to be studies rather than mere artworks. He considers the portrait to be primarily a psychograph and as such - further to external appearance - should capture human character. By penetrating the figure's psychology an artist manages to represent elements deep inside. The present Self-Portrait was made before a mirror. The face of Sarakatsianos brings out with great honesty and to a brave degree the burden of life. Especially his eyes are rendered acidic in penetrating any object whether animate or inanimate. Anyone who has met Sarakatsianos knows well how competent he is in investigating and detecting the world, contemplating through vision.
As known, the material of woodcut requires the artist to use a minimum of tones - the pure background and the areas covered by ink. Nevertheless, the sensitive eye will notice that in the present woodcut Sarakatsianos manages to render effectively yet a third tone - the area expanding from the ink, where the paper darkens by lubrication. This quality endows the woodcut with a mysterious kind of depth. In any case, the harsh contrast between tones betrays the strength of a design with precision. Using the economy imposed by the material, Sarakatsianos manages to capture the essence of the portrait, without being lured by sentimentalities. Besides he is interested not in reproducing the feeling of a photograph, but to express his personal attitude towards life - daringly fontal the face of a hard observer with a sharp eye. Here, the artist appears with his characteristic beard and the hard features of a man on the sixtieth year of his life with undiminished creative disposition. For humans the age of sixty is a period in which things change. Man becomes stoic and fully grasps the feeling of freedom, simply because he begins to 'embrace' with death. As the artist characteristically claims: "We forget all that we have learned about a metaphysical dimension, as if we move on to the dimension of vanity, of 'nothingness'. Artistic creation is an attempt to cling onto life, aiming at immortality. Nature endows the artist with this magnificent flaw..."
[Megakles Rogakos 07/2008]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Silent Dialogues: Multimedia Portraits Throughout Time 2008 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens