Arts, Culture
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Vasilis Kypraios, memories of Patmos in contemporary greek art

Various meaningful and intertwining layers compose the paintings Vasilis Kypraios, a contemporary greek artist, presents as part of his work on personal memories dedicated to the island of Patmos. Indeed, Kypraios’ paintings stand out for their full spectrum of colours and a somehow classical drawing out of which an immaterial twist moves interpretation to a more abstract set of references.

Works are usually organised around a formal representation with a material logic and a set of spots of different colours sprawling the canvasses seemingly without a rational approach: this interesting juxtaposition is undoubtfully a distinguishing element of Kypraios’ production. As a result, both in portraits and in landscapes, colours in their abstracts and material manner decline the paintings’ atmosphere and movement.

So the observer can indulge in the various dimensions of the paintings: the drawing, it’s colouring and it’s abstraction. Even though the deep play that takes place needs time to unfold, by following the various dimensions suggested by colours the higher and mystic dimension of the works appear.

Either spanning from deep reds, dark blues, profound browns and shining yellows, colours define objects and subjects. They follow the lines of the main theme, they digress along its boundaries, move on to different parts in brusk apotheosis, stops of rythms and flows and end up well away from the main contours opening up whole new dimensions. Figures, women’s profiles, rocks, organs, constructions drawn in the first layers fade away in the rays of colours and dots that disseminate the final composition of the artwork in a pollockian and klimtian fashion.

Small dots, lines, shades compose the final layer of the paintings, putting into perspective – and somehow questioning –  its foundation basics. Steadily, the nudes, the rocks, the forms of the island and its memories fade away.

Light and its declinations appear.

In a peculiar and personal manner a third dimension to the paintings appears in a move that is well above defined representation: this overlaying of materiality and abstraction is by far the most interesting element of Kypraios’ work.

In an analogy with moving away from material situations, Kypraios represents human beings’ striving necessity  in a move that is similar to Michelangelo’s Prigioni: concrete forms and their abstractions are in one place in a tentative to reach a higher consciousness of the condition humaine.

In this work we can see the painter’s proposal on how to handle the various aspects of the elements that shape life: place, form and thought.

But it is in rather small shape of the paintings that we can grasp the positivity of the final draft: beyond everything we can handle and circumscribe the events. They are not overwhelming like in Michelangelo’s work, they can be kept at a distance and somehow rationally handled.

The result is an immaterial dimension of the work where colour is superposed to form as much as ideas are superposed to reality: they move away from events, driving thoughts and actions to a higher level.

Abstraction thus reshapes completely any underlying form. As much as mysticism and metaphysics contribute to life’s final expression, in Kypraios paintings it becomes the coexisting condition to human life, like some sort of necessary companion to any bi-dimensional objectivity.

Movements of light are the final, pyramidal remainders of shapes.

Melissa Pignatelli


Vasilis Kypraios, memories of Patmos exhibition is taking place in Greece in Patmos, (Dodecannese) at the Old School until September 25th, 2017 in collaboration with Patmos Cultural Centre. More information in Greek here. Thanks to Foivos Kypraios and Anastasia Pilitsidi for permissions and assistance.

Patmos is famous for being the place where St John wrote the Apocalypse and important for its XIth century powerful bizantine monastery.


Vasilis Kypraios by Ellen Warren

“This exhibition is dedicated to the island of Patmos.

My relationship to Patmos is deep and uneven. On the other hand how could it be different?

Hora – a labyrinth in the shape of a ring coiling aroung the Monastery has been my place of residence for years.

This white mandala like village is revealed to be like the mystic ring of bethrotal which Patmos has offered from time to time to many light shadowed ones making them worshippers of this flaming fire, even if they are not aware of it

The engagement with the island of Patmos is sometimes difficult and ambivalent. However, for those who have a strong relationship with the island, who await or aspire it – it’s possibile that this “call” – I would say, becomes an inexhaustible source of inspiration and creativity.”

Vasily Kypraios, Patmos, June 2017



vasilis kypraios, exhibit, art, culture, greece, patmos.jpeg


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