Scales and notation of a visual language
Critic & Art Historian, 2006
Painting is an act of liberation in an unshielded environment that is constantly changing, discarding its conventions. This revolutionary act of liberation in danger goes contra to vanity, in a collaboration with Utopia. It is reminiscent of the touch of the shoals of existence or of tracking in dormant volcanoes. They always hide their potential dangers, without anyone knowing when they will explode, having become allies with time and the subterranean processes that are being hatched in their depths. Their burning magma, when it spouts forth, defines the zero level of the leap from one condition to the other.
This leap has taken place in the works of Giorgos Xenos. The web of myths that constitutes this visualised “performance” has been abolished. Its conceptualisations and its levelling, immobilising identifications, in relation to a doubtful “objectivity” have been eliminated. His own world appears as a bridgehead between the chthonic and the transcendental, between the uncontracted and elemental units of a pre-logical consciousness and the orbit of a transubstantiated firmament that is constantly on the rise.
In the face of the questioning reality of all those who see his eyes or of the stimuli that activate his senses, the painter juxtaposes the very mechanism of language, through which he represents an energy “performativeness”. Through this, the osmoses that arise from his submergences into the subconscious and subsequent emergence into a complex of archetypes, memory reserves, spiritual dispositions, fluctuating impressions and, most of all, aftersensations of the visible, appear. Forms of scales are drawn to the surface, whilst the manual and automatic language of the artist is presented as oscillation, with its path shaping maps with notation, punctuation marks, breathings and verbal acts that split the active and the middle voice of a language that syllabifies the unspeakable and the unrealisable, the expected and the unexpected.
Giorgos Xenos paints this very intermediary position, without being distanced from its visual surface. He does not record. He confesses. He does not objectify. He imprints himself. He does not stay out of the line of fire. Visual language for him is transformed into the umbilical cord of an “I” that encloses within it the “we” of the world, the forms that were in need and its enigmas that are latent. The expressionistic gesture of the painter becomes the after sensation of the possible and the exceptional, of the action and reaction that take place over a field of rhythms and reductions, transformations and refutations, transmutations and unnailings.
Landscape in the works of Giorgos Xenos becomes a body that is pregnant, gives birth, transforms, escapes, reveals the circulating orbits of its forms, whilst at the same it decays. It then recomposes and reappears as a cognate object of a visual language that is suspended in empty space, like the body of an acrobat that defies his tenuous balance, acting arbitrarily in the face of magnetic attraction, gravity and falling.
Hill ranges and mountains, roads and turns that are lost before the gaze has settled on their path, trees and altitudes from where one can stare at the same questions of the prior and the ensuing correlation of episodes in a mental “narration” of the image, are eradicated. They wipe out wounds, like Giorgos Xenos’s waterfalls with the gushing waters that flow and fertilise his landscapes, eliminating every trace that could be evidence for a causal relationship of the “retinue” of adventures. “Adventure” for Giorgos Xenos has been embodied within the language itself and within colour, in his repeated gestured recurrences and in the heresy through which he reveals his own landscapes of scales of form that are developed serially, expand, contesting space from colour, colour from light and light from the frequencies that caused by the variations of the syllabic improvisation each time.
Pythagoras associated the quantity with the quality of numbers, formulating at a fairly early stage the dynamic field that defines, in a similar way, its multiples and submultiples. Numbers were understood then as a mathematical and at the same time physical size, with potential actual environmental effects.
The geography of Giorgos Xenos’s landscapes, with its minimalist signals and gestured marks, its orbital routes and their coordinates, functions also as the “geodesy” of a body that is each time defined through its stylistic qualities and physical dimensions. Internalised organic processes become journeys of the line that leaps up on the field, giving meaning to its existence. Systems of letters and colours appear as paradoxical prairies of, you might think, catalytic electrical loads and parallel chemical actions that spring out on the surface. Each character, in keeping with the nature of the structure and its place in the composition, also in keeping with its references, its metaphorical “contracts” and its interrelations, is manifested as part of the discourse and the tonal shining light that attract its colours, being activated in the environment. It becomes a sign and a musical note, a guiding lighthouse and part of the premise of an enigma of life, as it emerged from within as design of form that radiates and at the same time absorbs space. Space is inscribed and reformed by the language. It appears elastic and bandaged, centrifuging its basic “molecules” or otherwise twisting them around the unseen cores that receive or exercise pressure, creating intensities and abatement, vibrations and beats, intermediary and innermost situations arising from areas of the undefined, which gradually takes form before the final phase of its appearance is completed.
Palimpsest surfaces, with successive formations of an “act” that is revealed as an “imperfect cremation” through the expressive, dynamic gestures of Giorgos Xenos, come to show in his
works dominating colour diatonics and spatial compositions that are reminiscent of unending fields, there where phototropic flourishes and energy gaps articulate a powerful network. A network that contracts and expands, that shrinks and spreads out, embraces the human tragedy and is wrapped like a thread around the inarticulate passions and articulated sufferings of life. It extends as resignation and unwinds as informal pantomime, with gestures and scripts that are transformed into silent screams and whispers, into the outbursts and diatonic notations of a constant renegotiation and overthrow of every fortification. Conjugations of coagulations and dilutions, sequences and stratigraphies of this network open up clearings, with viewing dimensions of the small and great world of a hinterland where beat-born frequencies are weighed against the uncertain phases on an invisible firmament.
The visual language, fluid, tracking and active, becomes a ritual service of the ways of tracing a self-knowledge that ultimately seeks to define and be defined outside of borders and binds, pretexts and excuses. Having nullified guardians and safeguards, it is imprinted as the freedom of laws of an “act of finality” that corresponds to the “imitation” of acts of cosmogenesis, reflecting most of all the “self” and its existential questions. It is these questions that are presented in the works of Giorgos Xenos as special laws, suspended and dramaturgically unravelling other masks of his own self in a constant challenge.