All that’s left: Color and light

You don’t have to be an art specialist to be familiar with Alekos Fassianos’s signature figures. Can anyone imagine his work without them? Apparently the artist himself can. Novel works A new Fassianos exhibition is currently on display at the Potnia Thiron gallery until early July. Featuring Greek landscapes and seascapes, the show is titled «Oti mas apemeine» (All That We’re Left With). The title of the show is a recurring phrase, words that kept appearing in the mind of the artist following last year’s devastating fires in the Peloponnese. «In the old days, as soon as there was a fire, the church bells would alert the locals, who would then rush to put it out. These days fires turn into a spectacle on television, images we watch from our couch,» says the artist. «What we’re left with in Greece is the light and the colors of nature. While we have provisions for listed buildings, the same does not apply to natural beauty. There should be listed landscapes which nobody can touch.» In his focus on landscapes, Fassianos’s work balances between reality and fiction. «I take elements which I like and make new compositions. I used to do this as a student, especially at the Athens School of Fine Arts, where we were asked to make studies of places which we didn’t find inspiring. In my works I include houses, electricity pylons and tiny hills,» says Fassianos. «In order to love the environment you need to be educated. In the past, our beaches were clean because whatever we discarded was made of natural materials that decomposed. Nowadays, man’s traces are visible everywhere due to plastic, which doesn’t decompose, no matter how much time goes by.» In the artist’s recent works, water is a predominant element, along with boats. «My first memories are of the sea at Neo Faliron. I used to go into the water – in a hesitant manner. In the end, I learnt how to swim all by myself. One of the painting challenges I was faced with was to depict a tempest.» Ionesco Besides seascapes, the exhibition includes stage props created for a theater production, «The Anarchist Mr Ionesco,» in collaboration with actress Mariana Rialdi. Created on wood, the paintings are still in good shape. Standing next to them is a small, impromptu painting made by the celebrated playwright for the Greek artist. «I met him in 1963, when he came to Greece for a puppet theater production,» says Fassianos. «Years later I made the props for the Rialdi production, which was based on three of his works: ‘The Lesson,’ ‘The Chairs’ and ‘The Bald Prima Donna.’ When you work on props you acquire a certain amount of freedom, you don’t use too many details.» Potnia Thiron, 7 Zaimi, Exarchia, tel 210.330.7380.