YANNIS ZIOGAS Polyptych 1986-1987 - x +

CN: ZioY1987poly

MT: acrylic on canvas 32x(200x90)

LC: ACG Art Storage

DN: Mr. Yannis Ziogas - 2006

CM: Polyptych is the monumental amalgamation of two smaller works by Ziogas. The first, entitled Frieze A, measuring 1x20 meters, exhibited at SYN Gallery in 1985. Frieze A was created in relation to space, the artist's aim being to underline both the relationship between the art work and its environment, and the idea of visual narrative. Inspired by the concept that art forms part of a broader architectural whole - something that had been forgotten by modernism - Ziogas created a frieze on canvas measuring one meter in height and twenty meters in width, using acrylics in black and white. In 1986 he exhibited at the same gallery Frieze B, in which earthly tones played a dominant role. Despite the fact that both friezes had the same dimensions, the former had been designed on the basis of small, fragmented episodes, whereas the latter displayed a unified form. With Frieze B, the artist explored the manner in which a large painted form, despite its appearance as a unified whole, is broken down due to the presence of an undercurrent of visual tensions.

Polyptych, created between 1986-1987, combines the aforementioned experiences in a project that takes a monumental aspect. The artist's goal this time was to break free from the exhibition space, to disengage the installation from any attempt at a modernistic visual narrative and to offer to the observer the ability to enter the painted form. Thus, unlike both Friezes, Polyptych was what defined space. Thirty-two works on canvas in dimensions larger than life-size followed a setup that changed each and every time, at the suggestions of instinct. As a result of this approach, a labyrinthine, disorientating installation was created, presenting unexpected openings and hurdles.

Through this work, Ziogas sought to offer a new dimension to abstract painting, to change the relation between painting and the viewer in space, which is a typical quality of installations. In this respect, Ziogas furthers the venture that began with Claude Monet's panorama of water-lilies and climaxed with Mark Rothko's religious environments. In the case of Ziogas, references to the labyrinth and to islands were s ubsequently added to Polyptych. The original work, however, was born and exhibited in fragments, the only guide being instinct. As to the chromatic sequence of the successive canvases - black/blue/red - Ziogas has been influenced by the way in which Tarkovsky's film The Mirror (1975) changes colors - sepia / black & white / color. Ziogas was interested in the alternation of tension and calm. Black and red colors create fields of tension, whereas blue denot es a state of calm. Moreover, the artist had been fascinated by the way in which Tarkovsky alternated colors in his film, thus depicting different conceptual levels of time. In Polyptych, Ziogas began probing the relation between the work, the observer and time-space. To begin with, the observer has a relative concept of the time it takes for a work to be completed. During the viewing, in parts where the works displays more details, the observer spends more time. Naturally, a certain time is required for viewers to get a feel for the project. Ziogas was also interested in the fact that, from various vantage points, observers would experience a constantly transforming work. They would be able to see only some episodes, but never the entire work at the same time. In this case, there is a lack of what in other works might be termed 'frontal approach'.

One of the more interesting aspects of Polyptych is that it has been created so that it can be rearranged according to instinct. Ziogas gave to The American College of Greece four sketched versions that he had designed during the creation of this work. Specifically for the exhibition at Deree Library, Ziogas was inspired to give his work a closed arrangement with internal structure. Moreover, in this space, Ziogas wanted his Polyptych to enter a fruitful communication with its neighboring Magnetic Wall (1974) by Takis. While, in a certain sense, Takis attracts the observers to a work that defines its space, Ziogas' Polyptych forces them to rediscover it, each time anew.

Polyptych is exhibited in its entirety for the first time two decades after its making in 1987, when it had been setup and recorded on the terrace of Makis Myrat's photo studio in Athens. Therefore, this exhibition offers the opportunity for the rearrangement of a monumental work from the 1980's. It is worth noting that the artist closed a circle in his work with the creation of a fourth monumental work during that period: Rodon (1989), which had been created for the Athenian concert hall of the same name.

[Megakles Rogakos 02/2006]

ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Yannis Ziogas: Polyptych 2006 ACG Art, Athens