GreekEnglish (United Kingdom)

Louisa Karapidaki

Dear Marinella,

The reason I am writing this message to you is because I will be coming to Naxos this summer. I could not possibly miss Apostolos Chantzaras’ exhibition at the well known “Fish & Olive” gallery in Halki. His work is superb and I have no doubt that Stelios will appreciate it, knowing that he is passionate about art. Vasso loved it too. Small in size paintings filled with the Aegean, radiating power, expressiveness and immense bliss. Chantzaras expresses himself through poetic images imbued with a unique temperament and his own aesthetic quality, permeated by his imagination, while being devoid of realistic over indulgence. The landscapes of the Aegean, with their white houses and ancient harmony, are reflected in the deepest sunset or the peak of dawn, imprinted with Apostolos Chantzaras’ personal signature. A signature that is poetic, sometimes abstractive and sometimes narrative in detail. A signature determined by planar depictions, distinct colours and dashing brush strokes, like the miniature paintings of the Byzantine manuscripts. And yet, his landscapes are transformed into vivid and colourful images, illustrating the public festivals Alexandros Papadiamantis had previously described when he wrote that “there was dancing, and entertainment, and goat sacrifices, and races; there was music that came from the lyre and the flute and circular dancing with rhythmical steps”. (“In the Royal Oak”) The action in Chantzaras’ public festivals is vivid, from the offerings to the lottery, from the musical instruments to the dancing, from the dancing to the feast. The artist deals with a cultural tradition, which he depicts in all its breadth and depth with a dreamlike lyricism and spiritual exaltation. These paintings come from the soul, yet they describe extremely figuratively the festive atmosphere of this folkloric day. Daydreaming, apparitions andpersonal references, which his memories offer him lavishly from the summer public festivals of the Aegean, are displayed on canvas in conventional shapes and myriad colours: the earthy colours of the bucolic rural landscape, the blue of the sky and the sea, the silver and gold of the moon, and the chaste white that sometimes morphs into the deep black of the night. There, on the storm-tossed islands, when the sound of the waves subsides, long songs can be heard and the sounds of the children playing at the annual assembly while the participants in the public festival make their spiritual offering...What more is there to say? I am thinking that Elytis was right when he wrote, “Oh God! You spend so much blue so that we cannot see you...” (From Maria Nefeli) I am telling you all this, my dearest Marinella, because art as well as wine “pleases the heart”. By the way, since you are in Paris, don’t forget to visit the “Quai Branly” museum - one of my favourites – the square garden of the Louvre museum, as well as Ladurée for macaroons and Berthillon ice cream.

Please also remember to give my regards to Carolos.

Louisa Karapidaki

* from the catalogue of the exhibition at the Fish & Olive gallery

** Instead of a text, an email message is published written by the curator of the exhibition,
Louisa Karapidaki (art historian) to her artistic friend, Marinella Tzanela