CHRISTOS THEOFILIS Red Square: Malevich's Portrait 2003 [A] - x +

CN: TheC2003male

MT: mixed media: gouache, enzymes and glue on touch paper and stretched canvas on canvas (120x80x3 / 24x18x3)

TX: inscribed with pencil al lower right <Red square [signed in Greek] C.THEOFILIS / 2003>, inscribed with felt pen at rear upper centre in Greek <The portrait of / [in English] Malevich / CTheofilis / 2003 / CHR.N.THEOFILIS>

CT: Ekfrasi - Yianna Grammatopoulou, Athens - 2007

CM: Christos Theofilis' Red Square derives from a series of approximately thirty artworks, all of which are dedicated to Kasimir Malevich (1878-1935), the great conceptual artist of the Russian avant-garde. Malevich came to being to bequeath art the square form. There may have been endless other squares in art, but what makes Malevich's square unique is the fact that it is actually far removed from perfection owing to intentional deformations, nearly like the effect of the wide-angle lens.

The Red Square is inspired by the namesake work of Malevich in 1915, as revealed by the title that Theofilis has inscribed at the pictures nether right. Approximately at the canvas' center is hammered another stretcher that presents the subject of the red square. Here, it is worth focusing on the design and the colors that emerge from within the red square. It is like image within image that concentrate the beholder's attention to on the boundless depth of the surface. The nails keeping the stretcher in place suggest the edge of the act as a crucifixion, and give the work a mysterious timeliness. They are characterized by intensity of passion, as if they were verbal nails by which Malevich deposited his research.

The red circle on the painting was an unforeseeable trace of the paint box, which came as a result of a spontaneous act beyond logic. Finding its place off center, this circle turned out to preserve the painting's compositional balance and become an accidental yet dexterous reference to Malevich.

Predestined to be a portrait of Malevich, in order to rise to the challenge it had to describe the psychism of the unsurpassable artist. Of course, Theofilis is not concerned in his external looks but in the concepts that he bequeathed. In other words, the Red Square is dedicated not to the artist's appearance but to his spiritual dimension. The painting's blinding bright background is the result of Theofilis’ technique to create the surface with successive layers of touch paper, each one of which is painted in different colors and all of which yield a latent transparency. The colors of the preceding papers light the ensuing ones. Such dematerializing light seems to refer to the metaphysical quality of the countless colors that emerge imperceptibly behind the crackle of those painting of Malevich that give the illusion they are all-black. As known, Malevich consciously created a substratum rich in color before setting out to cover it in one color, in order to achieve the quality of the final result, which - to paraphrase Picasso - is like throwing up the color that is drunk. There, then, in the background's light communicates the 'in' with the 'out', which is where the metaphysical quality of the work lies.

In closing, it is worth remarking on two key aspects of the present work, which are part of the artist's intention and - in keeping with ever new art - dispute academic style. First, the creases of the papery material give the surface a texture, which on the one hand traps light and on the other obsorbs color. Second, the bredding of enzymes accelerates the artworks aging process, which refers to the feeling of wear that Malevich aimed to endow his work with in order to be reconciled with human agony for death.

[Megakles Rogakos 08/2007]