"Runaways" to a different place and time, works of Antonis Tsakiris


by Margarita Pournara


For Antonis Tsakiris, the canvas is a magical pathway to another world. Perhaps,for that reason, he calls his solo exhibition, presented currently in the Thanasis Frissiras gallery, "Runaways". He says it straight out:"I reside in a difficult neighbourhood in the city centre. I hear sirens constantly, I experience an unpleasant reality. The works I've painted this period, echo my desire to escape to a different place and time", he says to "K". As we are having this discussion, all the streets surrounding the art gallery are blocked, due to the demonstration honouring Alexis Grigoropoulos. It's as if we are the runaways ourselves, in a deserted city. And his paintings are self-contained stories, in search of a refuge.


We are standing in front of a painting called "Aquarium", where a male figure is smoking indifferently on the seabed. Where do these imaginative pictures come from? "From within", he answers. 'Some of the portraits are real people, others are fictional". In some of their compositions we can see overcrowding. Figures, standing one next to the other, in a suffocating context. Glances, undefined attitudes, puzzling interconnections. Only the titles give away bits of information. Like a painting with vivid red, called "Escaping traces and little sky". In other cases, the painter focuses on just one person, either himself, or his grandmother, or a stranger wearing a diving suit. I waver between loneliness an cohabitation", he explains.


A third dimension.


Everything forms a unique atmosphere."I consider a painting to be complete when a I feel a third dimension has already been created. A background I could touch with my own hand". The interpretations are multiple, indeed. We could say the same for his drawings with ink. Tsakiris works as a graphic designer for the last 25 years, he is at ease with lines, with how to set a narration in a frame."It's the first time I manage to break the barriers of graphic design and adopt the rules of painting, to embrace colour and a different attitude towards forms". A predator of urban experiences, Antonis Tsakiris always paints in artificial light, eavesdrops on the city, talks about new experiences in his own way. His exhibition in Kriezotou will last until January 26.