picturing the visit I made to Evros Evriviades’ atelier and
the rest of his property where his constructions are
“exhibited” for private view.
materials, ready-made household objects, manufactured parts,
remnants of tools, plastic toys, knick-knacks of pop
culture, funny animals, small porcelain vessels, decorative
objects, small-scale replicates of well-known statues of
Aphrodite, fabric, metal, polyester, plastic, plaster,
materials that lend themselves to the creation of small
anomalies in space and peculiar pairings that explore sites
of memory and perception, with the demand that it be handled
with sensitivity and particular thoroughness. An exploration
into x-treme games, delicate, risk-laden work with
ready-mades. Objects superimposed and juxtaposed, set in
contrast and confrontation-a world of small worlds, a form
of “simple” entertainment, an osmosis between High and Low
that bears an aura from far beyond the ephemeral and makes
the viewer pause in front of them and let his gaze wander
around them; a strategy for organization and ordered
process, as found in the bedrocks of culture, with means and
forms selected from a wide range of references, systems and
Works of art
in process or ready as statement and exhibit, a scene of
stories articulated at times with references to fairy tales,
at times in a literally futuristic atmosphere and with a
surrealistic wish to render the conceptual perfection of pop
with the requisite visual sophistication or paranoia.
The forms and
ways in which a work of art has been realized reveal first
of all the subjective intentions of the artist himself; at
the same they determine how each age defines its aesthetics.
A century after the liberating principles advanced by Dada
and the poetics of surrealist objects we can clearly see
that the groundwork laid by modern and modernist practices
set forth a common demand: the independence of thought,
which every creative process requires, but also playfulness,
humor and deconstructive logic. And a scale large enough to
accommodate variations and unexpected reversals of the
absurd, as if authenticity were to be found in reusing
existing shapes, as if the objects of a civilization which
have lost their original context could be creatively
transformed into a strange yet appealing spectacle.
A large part
of Evriviades’s talent is his characteristic insistence on
the playful and imaginative use of a bric-à-brac of objects
and memories, his insistence on a demanding
handcraftsmanship that forges a highly individual path. A
child plays and becomes engrossed in a game of putting
together the jumble of pieces before him. So, too, does the
artist, but the difference here is that the latter
consciously uses the allegory of the game, provoking at the
same time a redefinition of the values that characterize or
enhance aesthetic qualities. The remnant of the child’s way
of thinking is transformed into the creative manual labor of
I spent hours
examining his assemblages, these small microcosms that
unleash a chain of imaginative narratives, and made notes to
record the thoughts that sprung to mind.
objects/constructions are ambiguous, hybrid and
simultaneously iconoclastic, with strong elements of the
grotesque and with the strange and absurd eroticism between
unrelated and unlike things. What we have here are smug
oddities that seem to be enjoying a covenant of cohesiveness
in which they agree to coalesce into an assemblage or even
into an organic whole within their creative sphere. There
are times, I think, when we encounter things that have an
elusive charm, an almost natural grace, a “something” that
most of the time remains indeterminate. They are often
impressions based on the element of surprise - or better, on
the element that impregnates the “grand beauties” - which
begin from the familiar, even the ordinary, but nonetheless
proceed to the uncanny, the peculiar, and thus to the
wondrous. Unpredictable relations and correlations, a riot
of meticulous details in diverse proportions and scale that
lets loose narrative caprices and that emblematically
epitomizes the dilemma between the neoteny and maturement of
art but also… of life.
Like surrealist montages set on pedestals and
informed by study and knowledge (an equally important part
of the overall visual proposal), Evriviades’s sui generis
art works are places, myths and ambitions, arrangements
and rearrangements, motionless spaces faithful to their own
Utopian bibelots, objects for the adult’s aesthetic
pleasure. A pop aesthetic with a generous measure of the
familiar but of the unfamiliar and strange as well.
Constructions of makeshift games or makeshift farces
combining Freudian psychoanalysis and the interpretation of
dreams that are interwoven with the almost hallucinatory
meanderings of the artist-as-seafaring-Little-Nemo.
demand to be read as seriously as the
official art of the canvas is. In his last group of works
and in a clearly personal style that is highly suggestive of
“manual labor”, Evriviades seems to be piecing together
variations of stage sets in continuous mutation, and in so
doing leads us to a “privatization” of utopia and to
interpretations that quicken and liberate thought.
Mousetrap castles or women’s shoes caught in
Receptacles/gardens that have sprouted feathers.
“arks” with white ponies affectionately conversing.
talisman, mandala and target in one.
paradisiacal space/a boat that transports the Goddess.
of Aphrodite**, decorated with a diverse mix of toy animals,
toy soldiers, pearls, feathers, braids, votive charms.
the Triumph of Aphrodite, overflowing with flowers and
fruit, or Aphrodite Flora, Spring herself.
A savannah of
hard yellow brushes inviting Aphrodite to take a stroll.
the land of the Nile, with golden hens and a turkey, all a
fetish of fertility.
cakes with flying Aphrodites.
adorée wrapped in a mauve-dorée floral-print tie and guarded
by toy soldiers.
tied and bound but dazzlingly bronzed, touched by the hands
of the healers and the healed, the Aphrodite Chaironeia and
others, and others, and still others… all handmaidens of the
Beautiful, in the familiar and in the grandness that lies
beyond the familiar.
mythology, but one in which archetypal symbols and codes are
used to express the personal experience of the artist.
Assemblages with cumulative self-referencing details,
re-situated in arrays of narrative chains, offer the viewer
a wealth of unique opportunities to explore concepts of
play, memory and the image of memory, dream-fiction,
associative references to symbols that classify systems of
thought and aesthetic experience. A visual mythology whose
main aim is to draw attention to the allegories of Beauty
and/or the Beautiful. An ironic handling that identifies and
records a mutation of meaning with regard to the idea of the
image and the means by which it is observed, and documents
the adventure of roaming through the imaginary world of the
tableaux vivants. At the same an effort at masquerade and
pretexts to recruit memory. A poetic disposition to comment
on past moments or the here-and-now, all of it an
imaginative, expressive and highly individual patchwork, one
that suggests a preoccupation with the search for identity.
An attempt to adapt an artistic temperament that seeks
refuge in the knowledge of a few age-old enduring values:
whatever is connected to the body, to sensations and to
nature, but put forward indirectly, suggestively.
I wonder if
Evriviades in the end is a dreamer or a romantic. Is he
being ironic or critical? I would say he’s encouraging, as
if he were confessing: “Live the ephemeral joy of the game –
there’s no sense in building tombs…” or even “Aphrodite
arose naked from the spume of the sea, go dress her…” but
not of course with the conventional costume of maidenhood
but with whatever a creator of shapes and forms could choose
from: taking everyday objects, building assemblages,
tinkering, in the end playing an exciting adventure of the
heart and soul, inviting us to share in the world of games
he has created.
and critic – Curator
* From An
Abyss Deep Enough: Letters of Heinrich von Kleist with a
Selection of Essays and Anecdotes. Edited, translated,
and introduced by Philip B. Miller. EP Dutton.
Among the best-known museum Aphrodites are the Cnidian
Aphrodite, a Roman copy of the work by Praxiteles, the Venus
de Milo of course, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, Titian’s
Venus of Urbino and Manet’s Olympia. However, the Aphrodite
that remains unrivaled is the one at her birthplace, the
Petra tou Romiou in Cyprus, the one the eye cannot see.