The incessant efforts that are required by the Great Work seem destined to project the half-wakened conscience into a state of transnational reawakening, and thus the ascension of material to the Igneous Light which constitutes its highest limit. [Carl G. Jung]
MLF | Marie-Laure Fleisch presents for the first time in Rome a solo exhibition of the Greek artist Panos Tsagaris, entitled Let The Sun Protest. On show, a series of large canvases and recent works on paper.
Fascinated and influenced by spirituality, mystical tradition, the Occult, and Alchemy, Panos Tsagaris explores current themes and takes his inspiration from contemporary society. He veils his research in sacred dimension, demonstrating the interconnection between the values and principles of different religions in his attempt to bring the spectator closer to a Cathartic state through Art. His works are the results of a series of passages suggesting a process of continual transformation from a lower to a higher state, towards the ideal purification.
Tsagaris has created his latest series of works, Untitled, starting from installations which he assembled in his studio using mirrors of different sizes and shapes. A powerfully symbolic object with multiple significances, in mythology the mirror traditionally symbolises the transition from a divine to a material state. The reflection disassembles the authenticity and uniqueness of the being, transposing it into a deceptive corporeity (as in the case of Narcissus). On the other hand and in a positive sense, in Neo-Platonic thought and Christian mysticism, the same human soul, pushed by its natural urge to contemplate the Divine, becomes the mirror in which innate Beauty is reflected.
Tsagaris photographs the precursors of his compositions using an I-Phone, a vain mirror of modernity and of our ego; he prints in black and white, photographing the same images over and over, always adding new mirrors until they lose their capacity to reflect. At this point, the photographs are silk-screen printed by hand on canvas and by superimposing the images, new forms and figures are created. In the final phase, the canvases are painted with acrylic paints, and some selected areas are highlighted with gold leaf.
We witness a twofold transformation: firstly conceptual, by the elimination of the reflective properties of the mirrors the human conscience metaphorically abandons the material and earthly state to rise to a higher level to reach a divine essence. The three-dimensional installation is converted into photography, then screen prints, then finally painting.
Some of his works are accompanied by writings on spiritualism, such as the diptych Transmutation, which brings together the image of a text on the ascendance and evolution of the soul through the process of the “tomb of transformation”, the grave into which the soul descends to find salvation, and then sumblimates towards a new and ever superior condition.
With its powerful symbolism, the gold leaf becomes the protagonist of the three works of the series Golden Newspaper, started some years ago by the artist in response to the Greek financial crisis. Panos collected international newspapers, mainly copies of the New York Times as he lived in the USA in that period. He made large scale reproductions of the front pages, leaving only the name of the newspaper and an image representing the country’s crisis, and covered all the columns of text with gold leaf. In the last two years, the series was expanded to focus on more widespread socio-political problems. In the exhibited works, the artist concentrates on images regarding the European-wide phenomenon of migration, and which is affecting in particular the countries of the Mediterranean region. Panos Tsagaris works with a method of subtraction to create a visually powerful effect by transforming his work into a sort of religious icon. Gold – the epitome of purity – represents a state of not material well-being, but that derived from the aim of the work: the reawakening of individual and collective conscience, accompanied by a growing inner spirituality which allows us to comprehend with greater consciousness the reality that surrounds us.