24.06.2016 - 30.07.2016

"Ocean Liner", 2016, egg tempera on cotton paper, 50 Χ 35 cm

The Man and the Lion

A Man and a Lion traveled together through the forest. They soon began to boast of their respective superiority to each other in stength and prowess. As they were disputing, they passed a statue carved in stone, which represented “a Lion strangled by a Man.” The traveler pointed to it and said: “See there! How strong we are, and how we prevail over even the king of beasts.” The Lion replied: “This statue was made by one of you Men. If we Lions knew how to erect statues, you would see the Man placed under the paw of the Lion”

Aesop’s Fable

AD Gallery presents Yiannis Gigas' solo show.

Through History and art we contemplate incidents of the past. We aim to the present’s understanding and to the revelation of the future by reconstructing past events. The choice of the sequence of events and its restructuring is based on archives’ research, having ideology as a guide but also instinct and imagination. This is the main reason why many historians consider that History should be included among the arts and not the sciences.
Over long historical periods the work of art has had exactly the same function of reconstuction and transfer of experience and ideas in order to address both the sensible and hypersensible world. In fact it is this function of art that we bear in mind when we refer to categories such as the political, the religious etc. History and art have an ancient connection, which has established identities and collectivities.
This is also the origin of icons painting. That is why we refer to the historicis of churches in order to clearly indicate the use of its visual language to create “books” for the illiterate. This 15-centuries tradition is the focus of Yiannis Gigas’ work; both morphologically, as a linguistic evolution and not as a well-established rule, and conceptually, by choosing to historiate events for which he seeks to be preserved and reconstruct our historical memory. The artist’s involvement with a language that has its origins in the post-Byzantine language dates back to his student years at the Athens School of Fine Arts when in the late 80’s he presented works associated both with the Byzantine tradition and the comic, such as “Christ’s Rape at the State Prison of Corfu by Prison Guards and Cellmates”.
In this show Gigas deals with events that have just recently started to become known in modern Greece; the action of the Cretan migrant worker, trade unionist and fighter Louis Tikas (Elias Spantidakis). The artist’s research on the circumstances of Tikas’ activity, who was murdered in 1914 in Colorado, USA, lasted more than three years. He traveled for three months in the USA following his hero’s traces. The artist’s linguistic choice is not accidental. A key component that marked the evolution of the art of icons is their reference to persons and events that belong not only to the past but to the present and future as well. Persons and incidents whose presence is eternal. By historiating Tikas’ struggles, Gigas does not refer only to the past but also to the present and the future. He does not seek the mere restoration of historical memory but the sense of the latter’s presence as an element of perpetual resistance. His choice to deal with a largely unknown hero is suggestive of his preoccupation for the exiled, marginalized social subject to come back to the fore.

Exhibition duration: June 24 – July 30, 2016
image gallery