REVIEWS

STAVROS KOTSIREAS-NEW DIRECTION

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Detail of Construction
'Nature's Hearts'
I met Stavros Kotsiréas whilst studying at the Royal Academy in The Hague, The Netherlands. In 1987 eminent Greek artist Jannis Kounellis was invited to become an honorary member of the Academy. Kounellis gave a series of guest lectures; created a permanent installation in lead on one of the Academy windows; and spent time with undergraduates discussing their work. Stavros participated in these discussions and at the same time acted as an interpreter, translating his remarks from Greek into Dutch.

In the 1989 graduation book of the Academy, Stavros wrote of his own work:

“Life is full of mysteries. In giving expression to these mysteries, the elements I use undergo metamorphosis. During the process it feels like metaphysical wine is flowing through my veins, inspiring me to create. This is the beginning of the creative act.”

These words from the beginning of his career as an independent painter, may be an expression of the underlying principles, which even now continue to guide his work.

“Stavros Kotsiréas’ painting urges us to return to Aristotle’s concept of the lost paradise of a sensual art”
writes Marina Lampraki-Plaka, Professor of History of Art and Director of the National Gallery in Greece, in the opening text of the Alpha Satellite Television Millennium diary, dedicated to the artists’ landscapes. In his latest work Kotsiréas re-interprets a familiar theme in the history of art: that of the still life or ‘natura morte,’ and returns to its source.

Producing a still life involves the ability of the artist to arrange objects in a composition, and then – to be inspired – and to display this new world on canvas. When the painting is complete, the artist’s inspiration, the source, is obsolete and is destroyed. Reflecting on this, Kotsiréas returns to the source of the still life. Like an archaeologist, he discovers objects, both natural and man-made and places these objects - often autobiographical in nature - in a wooden open box, or mounts them on a strip of wood. Whereupon, intriguing still life objects emerge, both in form and colour.

This realistic three dimensional world, which can also exist independently, is the inspiration for the painted canvas, whereby Kotsiréas attempts to penetrate the essence of the still life. The artist does not aim for an exact representation of the objects of the three dimensional composition, but rather to express this inspiration in purely painterly terms and to transform them into a new ‘Silent Nature.’
This is why some objects appear several times on the canvas, whilst other objects are omitted. Similarly, the colour of an object may appear in the composition of the painted canvas, depending on how Kotsiréas wishes to express that object in a pictorial context.

Kotsiréas reorganizes his realistic composition in the painterly form of a still life.This reorganization is essentially a metamorphosis. In contrast with the history of the still life, this metamorphosis is made even clearer by the fact that in Kotsiréas’ work, the source (composition of objects,) is not destroyed, but is left intact and allowed to co-exist with the inspired painting.

The Hague The Netherlands, July 2010

Dr. Chris Rehorst
Professor of History of Art
Director of the KABK, Royal Academy of Fine Arts
The Hague, The Netherlands 1985-2000