Discovering the timeless in the ephemeral

In all the years he has been sketching for the press on a daily basis, political cartoonist Ilias Makris has commented on dozens of personalities and hundreds of current affairs issues. For the last 22 years alone, he has been doing this for Kathimerini. Every day, just before submitting his sketch, he likes to show it to colleagues and observe their reactions. Now he has chosen a more extended period for his conversation with the public: He has selected a number of works created over the past two years (published in Kathimerini, Kathimerini English Edition, «K» magazine and Galera magazine) and is currently presenting them at the Astrolavos Gallery in Kolonaki. The majority of works are included in his «Test Pap» (Pap Test), a book that was published in December last year, by Typothito editions. For Makris, the Astrolavos show marks the second time that he has presented his work in a solo exhibition, while he has participated in a number of group shows by Greek illustrators. Does a display in a visual arts space give a new dimension as opposed to previous shows? «There is a different kind of dynamic when you look at the works in their entirety. The cartoons were not chosen in terms of their current affairs commentary, but because they have stood the test of time; there is a certain element of timelessness involved. By selecting and putting them on display it’s as if I’m giving them a new entity, a new role, an indepedent voice. This is because by nature, an illustration is accompanied by the ephemeral quality of the publication that is running it, it’s part of daily information consumption,» said Makris. What criteria did Makris use in selecting the works? «There were various reasons. One of these reasons was the visual art interest they presented. Above all, however, it’s about the timeless quality of the idea. You know when we say, ‘Nothing has changed since then.’ There are a number of commentaries in which you can see the heart of the events, and that’s what I would like to pay tribute to. There are works that have to do with the events of one particular day, but when you go through them, you say, ‘Oh, that’s still the case today.’ You bring them back to the level of commentary.»  Why is Makris using illustrations stemming from the last two years, as opposed to selecting from his overall career? «My initial idea was to take my career’s illustrations and showcase them using the same criteria. But there was too much. What I realize, however, is that the thread is there, together with the spirit of humor. What has changed slightly is the way they are being served.» Having curated the exhibition himself, he couldn’t hide a sense of pride when he saw the end result: «It’s an ensemble of works and a diversity of commentary,» he said. «It’s like performing your very best songs in a concert.» Astrolavos Gallery, 11 Irodotou, tel 210.722.1200. The exhibition runs to March 6.

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