INTERVIEW WITH KOSTIS GEORGIOU FOR EXHIBITION IN BRUSSELS, BELGIUM 2010 (English Translation below article)
Conversation with Kostis Georgiou
Pick Keobandith : Is this your first solo exhibition in Brussels ? What have you prepared ?
Kostis Georgiou : No this isn’t my first solo exhibition in Brussels, it is the second. The first was in the Townhall of Brussels, in the exhibition named “Future no Future”in 2000. For this exhibition I have prepared 22-24 paintings in various sizes and 9 sculptures, with some of them in monumental sizes.
P. K. : This time it’s in the private gallery in “Les Sablons”. Why have you chosen these 24 paintings and 9 sculptures ? Can you tell us more about what you are going to show ?
K. G. : I have chosen these paintings and sculptures because I wish to show my new work in the centre of Europe. It is a good opportunity for me to exhibit the new ideas in my painting as well as the monumental sculptures in Valerie’s Bach gallery, in the center of Brussels.
All the works-paintings and sculptures-are very strong and expressive, with explosive colours , as usually happens in my work and in my life. I believe that even the black and white paintings have the same explosive mood with the coloured ones.
Concerning my new sculptures, I think that a new generation of sculptures has been born, which pushes me into a new world of expression. I feel sufficiently mature to build huge, monumental sculptures, even more than 20 meters high. I am waiting for the chance to do this. I hope to find the way to build them soon.
P.K. : When did you start painting and sculpture ? What do you prefer - painting or sculpture ?
K. G. : My first solo exhibition was in 1974, at the age of 17, in the Goethe Institute. I started painting when I was 14 years old. When I started studying at the University of Fine Arts in Athens, I had already done 10 solo exhibitions and participated in more than 20 group exhibitions. I started sculpture in about 1980. I love both of them (painting and sculpture) because the one supports the other and I feel happy when I jump from one to the other, taking the most important elements and codes from both.
P. K. : What motivates you to sculpt ? As you said you were already recognized as a good painter at very young age ?
K. G. : I feel that in art there are no limits for the creator among any kind of expression. For me, what I am asking in my world is to bring the deepest elements of my existence up to the surface and transfer all the hidden personal codes to bring my personal signature to the universal and global world. As the Ancient Greek philosopher Heraklitos said, everything is fluid and as a subscriber to this philosophy, I believe in global logos. It is very important for me to jump from painting to sculpture and from sculpture to music and to any other kind of art in order to find the traces which will drive me to the global truth. I think that this is a very fundamental reason for someone to live, to exist.
P.K. : It seems that you have the desire to reach the “Gesamtkunst- werk”. This dream to link different arts and give them interaction is not new. Goethe, Novalis, Schelling, Tieck and Hoffman just to name few of well known writers had thought about it. Maybe you are aware of the theory of Gesamkunstwerk of Wagner ? Where do you find the subjects for your art work ? What do you read ?
K. G. : As I have already said, I don’t have any reason to be attached to a single school of philosophy. The only thing I look for, when starting a work of art, is the essence of an internal truth. The point is that I need the force and the possibility to discover the voices of every object separately, because I deeply believe that everything has its own reality which I need to discover.
Actually the subjects are looking for me. This means that subjects come to me from a million different angles at every moment. The creator must be always on alert and all the time he must have his personal radar in action. He is the absorber (amortisseur) of human tragedy, the lightning arrestor who diverts the negative charge of the hard daily routine to positive energy.
I like to read anything that feeds my thought. Of course I adore Plato, Heraklitos and Aristoteles, those important people who created the basies of philosophy. Among contemporary philosophers I love the very important world famous Greek philosophers Axelos and Cornelious Castoriadis as well as the Italian Umberto Ecco.
P.K.: You very often use blue,yellow and red - in fact primary colours. Do the colours in your painting or sculpture symbolize something ?
K.G. : Symbolism for me is something that hurts every kind of art. I don’t care at all for symbols, even though sometimes it seems that some symbols exist in my work. In those cases these are nothing other than elements used to construct the final idea of my expression. Concerning the symbolism of colours, every colour has its own force. Of course it seems that they have their own voice and reason to exist in the human world, but I don’t think about the voices and the symbolism of every colour while I am working. I let my subconscience drive my hands. It must be a kind of instinct which has been created from observation, a reaction, experiences and all those elements that build the personal codes for life.
P.K. : When we go through your paintings, the name of Francis Bacon comes to our mind. Did he influence you ? Who do you consider the most important artist or writer in your works ?
K. G : The reason for art to exist is to try to be unexpected and provocative. That’s why I try to create original events. That means that I refuse to be influenced by the work and philosophy of other artists. I follow my roots and of course sometimes my work reminds of the work of other artists. Of course it is a big honour for me when you tell me that my work seems to have similarities with Bacon’s work. Maybe yes, but we have totally different philosophies and mood to describe things. Bacon’s work is based on the decadence of human life, whereas in my work I describe the agony of someone who tries to survive and to reach the “light”.
P. K. : That’s why your work is so vivid. I notice and particularly in your painting that you seem to give a large place to scenography and tragedy? Did you take something from your experience in theater?
K. G. : All the time, in the back of my mind, there are images, experiences and moments of former and present life. It is possible that some moments in scenography of the past, participate in my dreams. Furthermore, from a very young age I have been in love with theater and so there are a lot of emotional traces of a pure approach of it in myself.
P.K . : In your recent sculptures you use aluminium and bronze. Is it new for you to use this material? Do you cast your bronze yourself? I remember you told me you like to do everything by yourself when you were using stainless steel and black iron-plate. “Rhapsody of the present” (1986), an impressive monumental sculpture, is a fantastic example of how you sculpt with passion. You master the metal and your will to be in your work from the beginning to the end is clear . Today are you still in love with sculpture ?
K. G. : That happened a few years ago before doctors told me that if I followed this kind of work- the hammered sculpture - I would become blind, because I had a lot of accidents within my eyes. Since then , a lot of time has passed and I still believe in the same law : if someone desires to be a real artist, he shouldn’t let anyone to get under his feet! In this new period of sculpture, the technicians are working just to transform the clay to the metal. They receive just a final image. They are not allowed to do more than the construction in metal. This happens because it is impossible for an artist to have such a big studio to found his own sculptures. Of course the point is to collaborate with the best foundries in order to have the best result. That’s why I must always look for the “absolute”.