Panos Papadopoulos (b. 1975) works beyond the traditional framework of representation, employing manifold perspectives of urban culture. Condensing arrangements and obscuring spatial relationships powerfully construct painted narratives where figures and objects seemingly defy gravity against the nude negative space of his canvases. Papadopoulos’ recent body of work is able to flow easily between abstraction and representation; displaying a deep concentration on abstract expressionistic compositions skilfully rendered in the elegant principles of minimalism.
Words: Yannis Kostarias
The development of his work emerges in defective and imperfect brushstrokes challenging the viewer’s eyes regarding the painting result. Ambivalent bodies and random objects slip in and out of focus caught in a remarkable elliptical application as well as a painterly ill-defined depiction. Papadopoulos’ paintings provide a broad range of gestural marks attempting to rearrange the ideas of form, shape and dimensionality in his paintings and to build up a creative sense of movement and liveliness. Showcasing a deep flirt with the abstract expressionism, the artist emphasises the subconscious engagement of his creations along with their emotional potential that might be derived. Therefore, straightforward and immediate optical conceptions do not appear in his imagery. This minimalistic approach eliminates redundant art components contributing into less realistic and digestible representations that imply additional painting techniques. Minimalistic elements offer the much needed basic criteria for the composition to take its final shape.
Open spaces take over his imagery as the artist develops his own lexicon of the contemporary daily landscape. Allowing the viewer’s mind to set up an image constituted by naive or unsophisticated lines reminiscent of wall borders, ceilings or windows, always underlying the importance of the very essentials, the painter seems to put an equivalent emphasis either on emptiness or profundity. Underscoring potential criticism, his paintings embody questions about further spatial interpretations from imaginary spaces alluded by Papadopoulos’ experiences. Leaving earlier messier, darker, stained and overdecorated paintings, his recent work lies on soft-laboured and less hectic compositions managing to reveal unusually evocative emotions that interestingly blend colours, gestures and materiality.
The artist’s visual vocabulary also suggests images where sides, angles or edges meet; sharper gestural lines, which create curvy visualisations, often dominate the painting’s story and distinguishes Papadopoulos’ painterly practice. In paintings, such as Corner and Floorboards, 2018, Still Life, 2017, Intimacy Fear, 2015, there is an evident presence of vivid black lines, which metaphorically or literally give significant shape and depth to the work or even manage to construct the broader environment of the painting’s space.
Born in Athens, Greece in 1975, Panos Papadopoulos lives and works in Athens and Vienna. The Greek artist studied in the School of Fine Arts in Vienna (under Prof. Marcus Prachensky) and was awarded the «Meisterschülerpreis» of the Academy. He is also the co-founder of the art collective DaDa Da Academy, founded in 2009 in Vienna. His work has been exhibited internationally in Athens, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Los Angeles, Lisbon and Cologne.
Panos Papadopoulos is represented by Eleni Koroneou gallery in Athens (GR), Irène Laub gallery in Brussels (BE) and Petra Martinetz gallery in Cologne (DE).
Art Verge: Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
Panos Papadopoulos: Going to the atelier every day and working. Sometimes staying there for hours just thinking and observing the works, realising if they are finished or if I need to add something or throw them away. I like to listen to the radio station “trito programma”, it plays mostly classical and jazz music and has a really amazing selection of interviews and features. I still prefer the radio randomness.
AV: How would you define your work in few words (ideally in 3 words)?
PP: Recently I was presenting my work and a Portuguese artist said to me that my works looks like a struggle or a combination from Apollo and Dionysus, and I never thought of it before and I liked it.
AV: Can you name any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
PP: Inspiration comes from the past and from my friends that are also artists. Unfortunately I see them not so often anymore.
AV: You have been involved in an abstractly expressionistic body of work in conjunction with principles of minimalism; as an artist how do you deal with these two different art genres?
PP: That’s what i am doing, that’s my work, to combine and express these behaviours in a painting in an efficient way.
AV: Creating a new painting can be a solitary process. If this applies to you, when you concentrate on a new artwork does it affect your social life at all?
PP: I enjoy the idea of the studio being alive. So even if nowadays I am mostly working alone at the studio I am also happy to have friends around, them working too or just hanging out.
AV: How do you know when an artwork is finished?
PP: When the meaning merges with the composition. (But sometimes meanings are not to last long so it can take also long time to finish a painting even if it looks minimal).
AV: Which exhibition did you visit last?
PP: In Vienna I visited the exhibition of Bruno Gironcoli at MUMOK. He was a great sculptor and painter, a professor at the academy in Vienna, when I was studying there.
AV: What do you hope audiences will take from your work?
PP: I don’t know. I hope they take the works with them, I mean to literally take them with them so I can raise my kids, keep the studio, pay my rent and bills and buy material so I can keep working.
AV: What does your mum think about your art?
PP: She like some works, I think my older works more.
AV: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
PP: I wake up early but I am a night owl, I don’t know for how long I can continue doing that though.
AV: Is the glass half empty or half full?
PP: If I knew I would be a happier man.
AV: Which are your plans for the near future?
PP: Less plans possible.
© Images courtesy of the artist