'Apollo Kouros I' signed and dated 'Preller 71' (lower right) oil and gold leaf on fibreglass intaglio 127 x 92cm (50 x 36 1/4in).
PROVENANCE: The collection of the artist Sale, Volks Auctioneers, Pretoria, 25th May 1986, Paintings etc from the Alexis Preller Collection Purchased at the above auction by the current owner
EXHIBITED: Pretoria Art Museum, Alexis Preller Retrospective, 1972, no.185
The symbol of an archaic Greek kouros or male youth was a motif to which Preller returned often. Thought to depict Apollo many of these figures were unearthed around Delphi and the version that Preller chose to study is in the Delphi Archaeological Museum. This headless statue, with its truncated legs and arms has the anonymous qualities that fit with the artist's struggle to depict emerging manhood.
In Apollo Kouros I Preller abstracts the form of the torso and by use of the intaglio technique produces a delicious ambiguous effect, an illusion that appears to be solid sculpture, yet is in fact a hollow shell.
As Esme Berman and Karel Nel observe in their monograph: "In the case of the intaglios he has actually recruited light itself to sculpt the image."
BIBLIOGRAPHY: E. Berman & K. Nel, Alexis Preller, a Visual Biography, (Johannesburg, 2009)