Return from Troy / Mythical horse riding signed in Greek (upper left) and (lower right) acrylic on canvas 98.5 x 160 cm.
PROVENANCE: Private collection, Athens.
EXHIBITED: Paris, Galerie Beaubourg, 1986. Thessaloniki, Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, A. Fassianos 1953-1993 Paintings, September 1993, no. 140 (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue, p. 190). Athens, National Gallery and Alexander Soutzos Museum, Fassianos, Mythologies of Everyday Life, 24/11/2004 - 28/2/2005 (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue, no 189).
This modern-day mythical vision, which unfolds in a rolling landscape, seems as crystallized as a sculptural relief on the frieze of an ancient Greek temple. Full of life and virile energy, three sturdy horsemen and two robust steeds are remoulded by the artist into archetypal forms echoing the timeless symbolism of Greek art. "As in ancient pottery, Fassianos's modern figures are captured in an eternal contre-jour which renders them both precise and timeless. These figures inhabit a totally luminous and airy land, an Aeolian land. The wind which tosses the hair of Fassianos's figures is the same wind which pervades Homer's epics and fills Odysseus's sails on his way to meet the Sirens."1
As noted by Jean-Marie Drot, former director of the French Academy in Rome, Fassianos transforms familiar everyday figures into divinities, retracing, in reverse, the ancient tradition that allowed the great Olympian gods to assume the guise of mortals and mingle with them, talk to them and even seduce them without scaring them."2 Behind these mythical figures lies Fassianos's modern-day neighbourhood, this nostalgic and vanishing 'yard of miracles' with its red-tile rooftops and "low courtyard walls that provide a sense of identity."3 "We are the same with the ancients" says the artist "because we see the same hills, the same light that has always been there. This is Greekness."4
1. J. Lacarriere, A Shadow Play in Fassianos - Mythologies of Everyday Life, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery - A. Soutzos Museum, Athens 2004, p. 24. 2. J.M. Drot, La Volupté Mythologique, Galerie Beaubourg, Paris / Marval, Paris / Ileana Tounta, Athens / Bernard Voisin, Chenonceau, 1985, p. 43. 3. A. Fassianos, The Low Wall, in Today, and Tomorrow and Yesterday [in Greek], Kastaniotis publ., 1990, p. 86. 4. As quoted in B. Kalamaras, Bicycling Forever [in Greek], Eleftherotypia daily, 21.04.2004.