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NIKOS KESSANLIS

20.09.06 - 14.11.06

"Gesture", 1961, mixed media, 25 X 35 Χ 9 cm

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The exhibition included historic pieces from all the periods of his work, as they were shown in the gallery since the early 90’s.

Firstly, a section of paintings from the “Birds and Flowers” series of 1956-1957 is presented. In this series Kessanlis forms Dionysiac compositions with explosive colours that reveal the irresistible attraction of the artist towards painting, which he views as a movement, a sense or even a game. The gesture constructs a world in which the post-cubistic influences lead out to fictitious forms of birds and flowers. The dynamics of this writing meets the pursuits of Informel, lyrical abstraction and abstract expressionism with indirect references to the dream world of Miró. Kessanlis’ painting abolishes the principles of perspective concentrating more to the supercharged gesture, the violent impulse and rhythm.

A reference to his historic “gestures” is also shown in a section of 4-5 works. This is a series of works created in Paris from 1960 to 1962, which have been presented in historic exhibitions in Italy, France, Holland and elsewhere. As Pierre Restany notes, “Nikos’ objects, worn and dirty, underwent the use and the test of time. And what seems as a miracle is the fact that they kept the spark of life emanating from the initial gesture, the natural trace left by their appropriation, their shaping, their settlement. Despite their age, they did not lose anything from the power of their self-specification, thus their own truth.” Most of the works of this series are today part of the collections of the Greek National Museum of Contemporary Art.

The exhibition is completed with Kessanlis’ photomechanical works. Nikos Kessanlis, one of the introducers of “Mec Art”, created his first works of Mechanical Art in 1963. This series of works became part of collections of European Museums and gained Kessanlis recognition in the international bibliography as one of the leading European modern artists. He focused his research mainly on the image formation. He printed the shadows of silhouettes in natural size on the sensitized cloth. This image processing method is a combination of the Shadow Theater and photography. His last work from this series was the work placed at Omonoia Metro Station in Athens. Kessanlis’ intervention is double. Since 1966 he presented his first “Anamorphoses”, the portraits of Arman and Sanejouand, which were realized with the side shift of his lens’ central focus during photo shooting. With his anamorphoses Nikos restored his contact with a design tradition that flourished during the 16th and 17th century and which was launched brilliantly by Holbein and others. A “three-dimensional work of mechanical art” will be presented in the exhibition. 

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