TX: painted with brush at lower left in Greek <Dimitris A. Sevastakis 1999-2001>, on frame repeatedly <The capital silence remembers and winds>, inscribed with ballpoint pen at rear center in Greek <SEVASTAKIS / DIMITRIS>
CM: Dimitris Sevastakis' Silence Remembers is one of the artist's autobiographical works. In this painting many things happen in a condition of unrest, like elements hovering in a nocturnal and fearful fairy tale. Indelible in Sevastakis' childhood memory are the nights spent at his family house in Karlovassi of Samos Island, when reading stories, like Harriet Beecher-Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), while listening to the howl of wolves from afar or hearing them approach the yard. The suspicion of dangers activated his instinct of self-preservation. He acquainted himself with danger, but - as known - the child's imagination tends to multiply the fear rather than rationalize it. Be that as it may, however, fear is an excellent spiritual impetus to the degree that it prompts man to contemplate his essence - his limits and standards. It urges man establish his place in the balance between life and death.
At the picture's base, from within the cavernous depths of the abyss, lightens faintly the artist's self-portrait. The concept of his body is erased in that place, where the real and the dream mingle. Silence Remembers suggests a psychological portrait found in a frightful environment, which reveals a pack of wolves, and a shiny knife brandished by an invisible killer. The hovering knife accentuates the feeling of danger and concentrates the threatening atmosphere of an awakening nightmare. A system of threats is at play that activates the need of self-knowledge of the one who wishes to subdue fear.
Silence Remembers is executed in the Byzantine manner of painting, the development from dark to light tones. The picture's scanty light is enough to suggest the familiar and to address the work's matter of expression. The ghosts of the night - the wolves, the owl and the knife - are self-luminous, which explains the aura that delineates them. These fictions are lit from a metaphysical rather than physical source. Hetero-luminous elements - such as the face and the moon - are defined in darkness by the energy exerted upon them by the ghosts.
In Silence Remembers prevails the blue, which for Sevastakis is an autobiographical color, with reference to Karlovassi, when the water of the wild sea would literally invade the homes. Blue became an obsession in Sevastakis' art - like an exorcism -; in an effort to reconcile the sea with the interiors in his paintings. The green and the purple are nothing but variations of the blue. The successive layers of color endow the work with a texture that is restless, like a surface that incorporates the human agony. Sevastakis claims with a feel for poetry that "the texture of the chromatic material actively listens to the night's unrests".
Sevastakis believes that self-portraiture is an open issue without conclusion. Self-portraiture is characterized by vagueness, because it suggests only a superficial thesis of what one actually is. The artist takes the chance to reconsider his position through self-portraiture. As a matter of fact Sevastakis says characteristically about himself: "I am not convinced that I am worth existing". The matter of 'existence' is the greatest motive for creation. The urge to improve oneself emanates from an inner inadequacy, which the creative being sets as a target always to overcome. With a feel for sincerity Sevastakis renders his self-portrait - his art's objective - the most subdued and untraceable element of this work.
Sevastakis claims that his art is to a great degree but a study. He begins his paintings by studying life, "seen from nature". Such an approach by Sevastakis sets the structural terms on the basis of which he constructs the work towards completion.
[Megakles Rogakos 08/2007]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Silent Dialogues: Multimedia Portraits Throughout Time 2008 The American College of Greece, Athens