True voice in work of young artist

It is very rare for an artist to receive rave reviews for a first solo show. But Nikos Moschos, born in Crete in 1979, would appear to have all the right stuff: that certain mark he leaves on his canvases – like an animal’s tracks in the earth – which is instantly recognizable as his. He has a very particular, personal idiom, a real «voice» that expresses not just his technical strength, but also a sense of inner anguish. The solo show, at the Gianna Grammatopoulou Gallery in Kolonaki (9A Valaoritou) until May 5, focuses on distortions, with his paintings appearing as though he has viewed his subjects through a distorting lens, like the peephole of a door, which makes people’s noses look long and foreheads squat. However odd it may seem though, this skewed visual angle produces a sense of harmonious composition. This is not the only paradox in Moschos’s paintings. The urban landscape in which his distorted figures are placed is equally weird: streets full of construction debris, garbage and cars, amid leaning buildings that loom menacingly in the background. «When I first came from Knossos, in Crete, to study at the School of Fine Arts, Athens freaked me out. I walked down the narrow dirty streets and looked at the tiny piece of sky between the apartment blocks. The buildings were like monsters waiting to gobble me up. Unlike someone who is born and raised in a city, and therefore more familiar with it, the urban environment filled me with a sense of awe and fear. I couldn’t sleep at night because of the traffic. It has taken 10 whole years of living here for the annoyance I felt to subside a little. I have transformed the city into a scenery that appears in all of my paintings,» the artist explains. There’s another surprise in Moschos’s paintings. The star throughout the exhibit is Cypriot artist Savvas Georgiadis, with whom the Cretan became closely acquainted at art school. «Being a painter himself, he knew exactly how to pose in order to bring out the distorted effect on the canvas. The rest of the figures are also friends and relatives of mine, because they are very familiar to me and I could achieve the exact aesthetic result I was seeking,» says Moschos. The young artist maintains that what is most important to him is to escape the idea of producing work in bulk: «It is essential to be able to make your paintings at your own pace,» he says. «You have to put your heart in it. You can’t think like a merchant – that you have to get this many paintings to the gallery by this time.» The painter’s technical talent has not gone unnoticed either. Film director Yiannis Smaragdis, who is currently working on a production of El Greco’s life, has Moschos’s hands appear in the film painting, while the reproductions of El Greco’s works have been done by Moschos and other artists.

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