Last year we first mentioned the thrilling New York-based Greek artist Panos Tsagaris. To our great excitement, the 14th of this month marked the day that the work of the artist crossed the ocean and travelled to Brussels once more (after his show at BOZAR), where it is being exhibited at Pascaline Smets’ inspirational Stems Gallery. Given the moniker ‘apocatastasis’, the exhibition features two series of works; on the one hand the truly incredible ‘Golden Newspapers’ works on paper, next to a group of dark shaded abstract paintings. Despite its differences, the two series are very connected – aesthetically and conceptually – inspired by the same search for the emanation of the Divine which is the great motivation in all of Tsagaris’ creations. Combining a societal arena of great relevance in subject-matter (the financial crisis in Greece) and immaculate style, Tsagaris’ works are a hybrid of extraordinary aesthetics and a sharp thought-provoking frame, making it the epitome of what in our eyes great contemporary art could (or should) be.
Since the beginning of the financial crisis in Greece, Tsagaris has been collecting international newspapers covers, mostly the iconic New York Times, featuring photographs of the Greek crisis. Covering all other cover texts and pictures with gold leaf, Tsagaris leaves exposed the situation in Greece.
The ‘Golden Newspapers’ series juxtaposes the transformation that Greece has been going through with the symbolic transformation of the Opus Magnum Alchemical work through which the lower being transforms into a fully developed consciousness. Tsagaris uses the gold as a representation of true wealth, as opposed to material-monetary wealth, reminding us of this precious process, of the ultimate goal which is the awakened consciousness of the individual and of the whole.
At the core of the show are a series of revealing pieces – ‘The Union IV’ triptych, ‘November 23 2015’, ‘November 17 2015’ and ‘November 15 2015’. Over time, Tsagaris goes beyond the Greek Crisis and widens his curation to worldwide traumatic incidents. From US demonstrations against police brutality against African-Americans to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Tsagaris uncovers the unbalance of the world we live in, highlighting a global need for transformation.
Also included in the show is a series of recent abstract ‘Untitled’ works on canvas or paper. Taking the form of ink with gold leaf drawings, these works are based on re ective installations the artists puts together in his studio, using various sized and shaped mirrors. In the mythological traditions, the mirror symbolizes the falling of the soul from divinity to materiality, from higher consciousness to lower being. At the origins of the creative process, an iPhone picture of the installation. Mirrors of our times, smart phones re ect our ego and narcissism. The picture is then blown-out and printed-out on a large black and white copy. Tsagaris then adds more mirrors and repeats the photographing and printing as many times as needed until the mirrors, exhausted, lose their reflective properties.
Panos Tsagaris lives and works in New York and Los Angeles. Tsagaris received his BFA from the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design in Vancouver, Canada. His work has been exhibited among other venues, at the 4th Canakkale Biennial of Contemporary Art, in Turkey; at the BOZAR-Center of Fine Arts, in Brussels; at Palais de Tokyo, Paris; at the Belvedere Palace Museum, Vienna; the Assab One foundation in Milan and since this month once more in Brussels, debuting at the ambitious Stems Gallery. The artist is represented by Kalfayan Gallery.
The incredible ‘apocatastasis’ will run until the 27th of February at the Stems Gallery, located at 68, rue de la Concorde in Brussels. Opened Wednesday until Saturday from 11:00 until 18:00.
For more information on ‘apocatastasis’ see here
For more information and work by Panos see here