Desire a) recto
signed in Greek and dated 1994 (middle left)
acrylic on panel
signed in Greek and dated 1994 (lower left)
acrylic on panel
160 x 200 cm.
PROVENANCE: Private collection, Athens.
EXHIBITED: Athens, National Gallery and Alexander Soutzos Museum, Fassianos, Mythologies of Everyday Life, 24/11/2004-28/2/2005 (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue, no 167).
Just like Picasso in Antibes, Bonnard at Le Cannet or Dufy in Nice, Fassianos makes us imagine a carefree life bathed in the warm Mediterranean light,1 a world of childhood innocence and leisurely pleasure that captures the eternity of the moment. Here, two robust images displaying his signature schematisation of form and set against a dazzling background seem to relate a domestic story or a sweet dream the artist dearly kept in his memory.2 A simple scarf, some humble straws, a vase with flowers on a traditional Greek coffee-shop table, suffice to convey a sense of optimism and identity. As noted by art historian E. Agathonikou who curated the artist's major retrospective at the Athens National Gallery in 2004, "there is continuity and cohesion in Alecos Fassianos's oeuvre from his early output till today. His small coffee-shop table admired at the Young Artists Salon in 1958 still survives in his recent compositions. His forms may have changed over the years -so has life itself- but his artistic vision remained the same: the myth of Greece which he carries within himself."3
On the reverse of this charming four-panel screen, a flock of graceful birds radiates a sense of joie de vivre, conveying the viewer into a peaceful and celestial world that gently comforts the soul. As noted by Athens National Gallery Director M. Lambraki-Plaka, "Fassianos's world is a celestial world, a constant call to run away to a place of delights and pleasures, an escape to a timeless realm of eternal Sundays."4
1. See K. Tanikawa, A Grecian Smile in Fassianos Drawings, Adam, Athens 1994, p. 24. 2. See H. Kambouridis, preface in the Fassianos exhibition catalogue [in Greek], Larissa Contemporary Art Centre, Larissa 1997, pp. 6-7. 3. E. Agathonikou, Alecos Fassianos in Fassianos - Mythologies of Everyday Life, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery - Alexandros Soutzos Museum, Athens 2004, p. 40. 4. M. Lambraki-Plaka, The Art of Alekos Fassianos - A Popular Paganism in Fassianos - Mythologies of Everyday Life, p. 13.