by Ira Papapostolou


The hyper-expressive intensity and the vivid chromatic scale are the main characteristics of the painting of Antonis Tsakiris and, at the same time, the trademarks of an expressionistic writing. Reality is distorted here so as to express emotions and the special inner perpesctive of the artist.


For the realisation of his works, Tsakiris uses oil on canvas. He paints directly on the canvas, without preparation. He re-composes drawing on the elements that surround him and concern him, but on photography too, creating a new space of supernatural dimensions, which preserves, though,a character that is real and familiar. With references to Francis Bacon and Edouard Sacaillan, he chooses and investigates pervasively the sentimental depth of his themes and sinks into the phyche of the figure. What concerns him the most is the person among people, whether he is part of the crowd, which seems to be connected through the same guideline of its members, or standing alone facing himself. The protagonists of the works of Antonis Tsakiris are, in fact, anti-heroes.


In his last section of paintings, the crowd obtains an identity, it approaches the spectator and the faces are clearly revealed to us. They are different, unique individuals, with distinct features that don't lose their qualities. A persistant story-teller, the analytical approach of the figure reaches, at times, the point of absolute abstraction. He provides us with clues, though,t hat challenge us to roam in the complicated flow of the contemporary western societies. He sometimes joins this throng himself, and sometimes he observes it, he lives and exists with it-maybe that is what creates the need for a way to escape(the diving suit, the helicopter, the dance, the secure anonymity of the crowd, etc).


In his last work, new roles appear, the "runaways", as he calls them, in a bohemian atmosphere, as well as a series of symbols: the umbrellas, offering a sense of protection but distance too, the enclosed or undefined, "empty" spaces where the stories unfold as a reminder of the concept of imprisonment, the films that "hang like snake skins or flow like bubbles in endless plastic tubes of experimental laboratories", symbols of time, evolution but the inevitable biological degeneration, too, recording moments and senses that accumulate, frame by frame, indicating the narration of a complete possibility, the black and white, striped uniforms of the prisoners, the so-called TV mosaic squares that cover the eyes of the "alleged suspects" in News Reports.


In the history of Art, imprisonment is a timeless issue. Literally or metaphorically, it suggests either social and other limitations, or the constraints of human fate. In his Aquarium, another form of confinement, the central figure is presented as floating in the water, like a ghost or an illusion, smoking his cigarette, while behind the glass, the nonchalant spectators watching, are just implied. Tsakiris despises the convenience of the obvious. Painting his runaways, he frees his anti-heroes from these bondages and-through them-he frees himself. In his self-portraits, he goes deeper, he becomes his inner mirror of the moment, also reflecting on his face the traces of his era. Antonis Tsakiris takes delight in painting, he sneers at others and himself, "attacking" a Think Tank, he plays with the word, he denudes it of its significance and lets it float, over the heads of the protagonists, without meaning or destination. He sometimes surprises us with his choice of topics, always moving close to the supernatural(Runaways in the Rain), while, whenever he sees it fit, he skillfully approaches reality in his stories.


In total, the painting of Antonis Tsakiris is defined by the evocative colours, the plasticity of the faces, the use of distortion and voluntary exaggeration so as to achieve a subjective sentimental impression. Surrealism, expressionism and symbolism meet, in order to create a very personal painting. A skilled designer, he carries us to the absolute today, revealing the horror in everyday life, with his instict, his inner impulses and his "unwavering but constantly beleaguered " faith in humanity, as a guide.


Ira Papapostolou.