Explosive red and deep blueInterview to Sissi Alonistiotou, for the newspaper "ELEFTHEROTYPIA", 15/10/1993
A few days ago he won the first prize at the "Primio di Sulmova" in Italy and took part in the international TRIENNALE of Osaka in Japan. An on-going exhibition at the "K" Gallery in London and following until the 10th of November an exhibition at the Titanium-Gallery in Athens. "Gladiatoris-Viatoris-Acrobats" is the general title of his late work and the spark which started this conversation. Costis Georgiou. The painter. Explosive red and deep blue colors, figures whirling about, walking on a rope in a world unreal and yet familiar. This is his work.
"I started painting at the age of 14-15 which is, I suppose, not unusual. The unusual thing about it is that I continued. W hen I finished high school I left Thessaloniki, the place where I was born and raised and went to Sweden. I stayed there for six months. This is how long I handled the northern climate and people. Coming back I entered the Athens University of Fine Arts and graduated . Then I went to London and continued my studies at the Royal College of Fine Arts. I came back. I entered the Stavrakos School of Cinema. My brother is a director, consequently his influence was significant. When I was little it was he who answered all my questions at the time. I found it impossible to do many different things at the same time. So I put an end to my wandering and devoted myself to painting. Do you think this was wise of me to do?"
- I suppose so. You are one of the young painters who will not die in poverty. At least not if you are wise with your money. Money that you earn from the success of your work in the art market. Where would you say you owe this?
- Telling you the truth, I?d say that sometimes I wonder myself, too. The only explanation that I can give is that everything which is original is recognized and appreciated. There is a public approaching art rather with instinct than with knowledge about art. When it feels right this is when they buy.
- Wouldn?t you say that public relations play a certain role?
There are some young painters out there whose work is quite good but still they don?t sell....
- I really don?t think I?m doing any public relations and I certainly don?t sell because of them. Yes, I am a man of this world and not a hermit, but still I don?t believe that a few acquaintances can establish an artist. Not for long, anyway. If you devote yourself into something and have patience and persistence in your work, sooner or later, it will pay you back; If not on the whole, at least it will it will offer you a piece of the cake, so to use a common expression. Even If a local system stands in your way the lack of boarders offers you horizons, new markets. They allow you to expose and measure yourself if you want to.
- Is your painting based on inspiration?
- Not anymore. When I started painting I was like little children who want to learn to play the piano and scratch a few keys, listening to the sound and making up little tunes, maybe unworthy but still important for their expression. Those days inspiration was essential. Now it will always exist within my personal experiences drawing upon it at moments of artistic expression. I open the drawers of my mind and find there knowledge from the past, traumatic experiences, accumulated anger, forgotten hopes, unfulfilled passion.... and I paint. Sometimes it is like a baby not wanting to come out to the world. My job Is to bring it out to the world safe, without letting it die on the process, surviving the less possible losses between the internal truth and the eventual result on the canvas.
- Which is in your opinion the worst stage of artistic expression?
- Without any doubt it is the intervals. It is the period of time when you have long finished a series of works and get prepared for the what follows. This is a time of tension, where everything seems to be the matter and the people close to me really suffer from my being difficult. It is a time which I really don?t know how long it will last and this is killing me. Now, over the years I know at last this moment will come and this reduces my overall tension.
- Would you say this restlessness is expressed in an abstract way?
- I really don?t want to put any labels because in the name of abstract and modern painting there have been monstrosities. There are museums all over the world which really don?t know what to do with all the rubbish they have bought. I suppose, one could say, with just a first look that I express myself in a abstract way. What I personally say is that I deposit all my energy by searching inside my soul, my mind, my whole existence. Let everybody else who wants or is interested in putting labels do so.