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    The Age of Recall

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He spoke another language, the peculiar dialect
of a city, now forgotten, for which only he
felt any nostalgia

Nikos Engonopoulos, The Lover

 

The Age of Recall

…. The aim of self-narration has always been to arrive at a logical truth. The unvarnished truth has been a paramount and inviolable principle of all forms of confessional language, as well as of other means of expression. In his work Evros Evriviades seeks to portray the truth of the experienced event and certainly not that of the representation of the experience. Without the slightest hint of straddling between life’s script and its transcription, and steadfast in his refusal to give unbridled rein to fantasy, the artist invokes fundamental social principles and values in order to compose, or better, reorganize the space of memory. He works with a wide-ranging concept of memory that is situated in the past as registered experience, recalled and reshaped in the present as the acceptance of the truth of this experience, and finally presented as a process of visualization and aspiration in the future.

Evriviades is attempting a rather particular and in terms of style, highly personal cartography of the domestic and the broader urban environment. He traces his emotive foundations by recalling facts and knowledge that can delimit the aforementioned regions of past, present and future. Ideas of indoors and out, of the absolutely familiar and the conciliatory unfamiliar, work with and against each other in adherence to a methodology of conjunction and alternating disclosure.  Thus the testimony from within and from without functions as a connective idiom and form what one could easily term emotive recall. The works Red Sofa, Room with a View, and Notre Dame de la Garde from 2007, as well as the work Odysseus Never Returned a year later, attempt to capture a common truth that considers life confounded by this division of inside and out. The artist interprets this bewilderment as something metaphysically exotic, in which colors, scents and substances are recruited to eradicate all fear of emptiness and to establish abundance as the works’ primary idiom. Thus, voracious colored drawing frames and at the same time entraps the shapes; it dominates, if not tyrannizes the painting surface. Memory, or better, the image of memory in Evriviades’s work conforms to and literally serves the principle of fullness.

The same drawing and painting principles govern the other thematic units. Among the still lives I note in particular the Hydrangea with the Blue Cat and Nature morte anisée. With regard to the series with cats, I distinguish the Self-Portrait with Two Cats from 2007 and Danoises, as well as The Sleeping Beauties from 2008. The canvass and the inanimate and animate objects it accommodates bear witness to an unyielding state of evocative attestation.  The artist seems to be echoing the poet Nikolaos Kalas’s words, “such is the call of the age, let nothing be lost.”  The paintings teem with a constellation of data; they are positions and appositions of intimacy. Familiar objects are arranged, if not crammed into the space, attempting a kind of voluntary congestion. The objects spread out and swell, become entwined, and in the end unpretentiously gigantic.  Through the paintings’ density of color and line one can discern a game which gives prominence to the foreground or the background, the mutable form or the utterly structured one, a game that plays with the rivalry between the geometric and freeform shape.

As with the other works in the Festivités thematic unit, Thé dansant is an unequivocal, uncontrived act of recalling memory. In the works The Pink Poodle, The Ladies of Scala, Bal Masqué and Forbidden Games, which were created at the same time as the works noted above, the timely and untimely acquire a common identity. In their immeasurable density of expressiveness, enigmatic ampleness of thought, and indomitable contemplativeness, the paintings are a mirror to the conscience, a private looking-glass. Evriviades speaks in a voice similar to Nabokov’s in Speak, Memory.  He refuses to insult the dead or antagonize the living in exchange for personal relief or deferred revenge.  He deploys a confessional faculty of critical reasoning to construct his own ethical logos.  Time and space, which are utterly experiential in their materiality but even more so in their conceptual displacement, are the quintessential places for the self that remembers.

In essence Evriviades’s work -each of his works- conforms to the principle of recall. For the artist, each act of recalling is a new encounter with the depths of the ego. Memory is presented as a narrator. In response to Kostis Papagiorgis, who sees memory as retaining only what we have lost, Evriviades advances a less simplistic and absolute notion. He seeks not only to retrieve what has been lost but also to reshape what has been retained and to thrust it into life.

Dr. Savvas Christodoulides

Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, Fine and Applied Arts
Frederick University
Nicosia, March 2009

* Translated by Stephanos Christophoros

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