Painter of the Month

The painter of the month September is Dimitris Halatsis. He was born in Karditsa in 1969. He studied Painting and Graphic Arts at the Painting, Sculpting and Theater School of Neuss of Düsseldorf (1995-1997), as well as at the State Academy of Fine Arts of Karlsruhe (1997-2002). From 2002 till 2003 he earned his masters in Painting.

He has participated in various group and solo exhibitions in Greece and abroad, such as “Polytik”, at the Poly Gallery of Karlsruhe (2002), “Top 03”, at the Baden-Baden Art Gallery (2003), “White Cube/Black Box”, at Cheap Art Gallery in Athens, “Propaganda”, at the Kastnienallee ProjektRaum in Berlin (2005), the 4th European Social Forum in Athens, “Mass and resistance”, at the Interprojekte in Berlin, the exhibition “Fuer den Frieden auf Kaukasus geklettert”, at Karlsruhe’s elaboratorium and the exhibition “Wo(+)Man”, at the Cheap Art Gallery in Athens (2006), ArtMart, at Vienna’s Kuenstlerhous, “Finish”, at the Autohous Tschernitz in Karlsruhe and “Farewell”, at the Kipseli Agora of Athens (2007), “Τιποτα/Nothing” at the Cheap Art Gallery in Athens and the exhibition “Which way to Utopia”  at the Kipseli Agora (2008). Halatsis’ work is marked mainly by his intent to highlight the ephemeral character of artistic creation. It doesn’t matter if we are looking at installations, in situ, or discarded and no longer useful objects. It doesn’t matter if we are looking at human figures, made through the traditional means of painting and placed temporarily in the space, or the literal expressions of evanescence, using the artist’s own body.

His visual language extends from the art of concentration and critical realism up until the art of the body and conceptual art. However, even when his handling of formal elements is, at first sight, abstract, we can still detect the real. Because it looks like what Halatsis is most interested in, is to critically confront the world that surrounds him.

The oil-paintings of female models and the enlarged women’s faces with slogans written across them are depicted with photographic accuracy, almost like caricatures.

Created within the iconography of the divine infant, the fat toddler with the high cheekbones holds a gun to his temple, from which the rays of an explosion are emitted.

Swollen up by anabolic steroids, the figure of mass idol Maradona is drawn with pencil directly on the wall, with the commercialized image of Che Guevara showing on his arm as a tattoo.

Installed inside an open fridge, the empty bird nests stand next to the black and white portrait of the woman with the strong features and the thick stroke of color under her nose, implying an injury.

Some repeated lines with this name on the canvas, his identity. While his utopia is composed of some pieces of yucca thrown onto the floor.

There’s no doubt that Halatsis’ work could be seen as a personal protest against the status quo. It is an attempt, through the means and the rules of art, to strip bare the real from the marketplace’s decoration, to give back to artistic creation its forgotten political tone and its lost internal content.

By Leda Kazantzaki
Avgi newspaper, Sunday issue 07/09/2008