Retrospective exhibition “Apanthisma” by Giorgos Pol. Ioannidis
in Casa Bianca, Thessaloniki – July 2010
A Renaissance or Flemish artist, an impressionist, an expressionist, a cubist or a surrealist… He reshapes everything with creativity and surpasses them with great artistry, so that a unique work is born which bears the strong personal imprint of its creator. It is possible for a single one of his works to contain many or even all the aforementioned characteristics, as does the work entitled ‘The comedy of death’. In any case, his artistic creations, which initiate at the very young age of ten and twelve years (Landscapes in Chalkidiki, recreation of self portraits of Goya or Rembrandt or a portrait of Rubens), are ingrained by all these art movements. One stands with owe before the unique skill of the artist to assimilate and combine. As to his portraits they are entirely masterful. Their silent, reserved expressions and the rendering of a talking inner world are superb. Even his still landscapes (‘Ano Poli of Thessaloniki’) contain the mettle of the inner living soul. The reality, even when it is a still landscape, is instilled with life by the artist and is transformed into something that is vibrant, in its live version. His paintings are not in any case a simple and faithful reproduction of an ossified reality, but rather a breathing of spirit within it and its coming to life. His tools are the paint brush and the palette and his materials the canvas and the oils, which are the absolutely essential. Which is Giorgos Pol. Ioannidis’ ideology, what messages does he carry from our times by shaping with the use of lines and colours various forms or strange shapes, in order to reveal through his paintings all that he feels and thinks about? Ioannidis’ art is not an art ‘without a meaning’ nor is it unspecified in its markings. Its ideological spectrum and its explicit social orientation are defined with eloquence. There are two main areas in his ideological expression: The first is existential, our confinement within the extremely tight limits of our existence. The artist’s shelter is the same as Cavafy’s: ‘Bring your drugs, Art of Poetry— they do relieve the pain at least for a while’. Ioannidis’ escape is also his art, through which he attempts, at least by means of expressions, to expand the limits of our existence either with the presentation of a ‘Ballerina’, who through dancing tries to surpass herself, or with the portraits of familiar or beloved figures and their iconic preservation in time. This is the reason why there are many portraits, almost a third of the total of his exhibits. In order to express his gratitude to the grand artists that also perform the same work — through their art we can expand the boundaries of our being — he turns his art towards them making them monuments. (Self portraits or portraits of Rembrandt, Rubens, Goya, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Cervantes, which is also the only one in the form of sculpture made by gypsum).
His second ideological area of expression is society, its structures and its established circumstances that eternally reproduce oppression, inequality and the atrocity of human exploitation by human beings, whether this is carried out without the direct use of weapons, ‘legally’ and ‘peacefully’, through the financial dependence of the majority to the minority, or with the use of weapons. Nevertheless, in both occasions the result remains the same: the establishment of a modern type of slavery, whereby the survival of the majority depends on the ability of the minority to earn. The ‘Portrait of a Youth’, which is nothing else than the portrait of a labourer, is typical of the social focus of the artist or, if he focuses on the atrocities committed during wars, then the works ‘The Blossom of Evil’, ‘Beyond the Shadow of the Cypresses’, ‘Stone Time’ demonstrate this reality almost graphically. The financial crisis, despite its negative sides, proves to be a positive occasion for Ioannidis, so that one can understand his art. As Ioannidis does not replicate the reality, but rather he simply has a premonition about it, the reality afterwards copies him by proving his point. Those portly horse-like monsters with kind features, some nowadays civilized Centaurs we could say (‘Rapsody A,B,C’), ‘The Passions’, ‘the Tree of the Jail’, ‘The Immoral’, ‘The Confession of a Vagabond’, which seems to reverse with justice the relation between the ones ruling and those oppressed, are all works which obviously reject the structures of the globalized community. As to the exploitation of the tragic nature of human existence by our religions, his irony in the work ‘Heavenly Drummer’ is a paid answer: ‘From now on you will be deprived from my love for the rest of your life’, says a Crucified who cannot see.
Alexandros Tziolas, 2010
Philologist — Political analyst