Artist/Maker: Yannis Papayannis (b. 1962)
Object/Materials and Techniques: Acrylic on paper
Date: Painted in 2010
Dimensions: H. 30 cm. x W. 40 cm.
Art style: Abstract art/Pop surrealism/Lowbrow art
Current Location: Artist’s collection
Curator’s note: |’n Art| presents three paintings from a series of works Yannis Papayannis made after reading the book, The Hellenics and Hellenic Love, by James Davidson. A book with rare insights into the complex and peculiar – for a great number of people- world of Ancient Hellenic love and homosexuality. The artist chose some intriguing stories from the book and animated them.
Inspired by cartoons’ characters and scenery, herein, he displays a narrative of mythology and classical antiquity, employing abstract imagery based on comics and underground aesthetics.
This painting alludes an ancient myth according to which Plataea young couples had to face three huge oval-shaped rocks. The winged Eros, the Ancient God of Sensual Love and Desire and prostate of amorous, hustles to provide them valuable aid in order to overcome the obstacles. Eros functions here as deus ex machine, the unexpected saviour that resolves the otherwise irresolvable plot situation in order to bring the tale to a happy amorous ending.
The effect of the winged Eros is a direct and immediate emotional response and just like the audiences of plays in ancient times, the viewers of the painting may experience a feeling of wonder and astonishment due to this divine intervention; an element that further adds to the moral effect of the depicted difficulty.
Behind Yannis Papayannis’ this phenomenally naïve, animated depiction, a powerful mandate passes out, as a reflection of the widely accepted expression ‘love can conquer all’. Hence, his cartoon-tainted motifs, in their simplicity, suggest a strong thought-provoking allegory and succeed in transcending the painting to become universal and timeless.
- It is widely known that in Ancient Hellenic plays a seemingly insoluble problem or an apparently inextricable difficulty is suddenly and unexpectedly solved with the introduction ofdeus ex machine, through the use of an established stage machine.
- Plataea was a Hellenic ancient city located in south-eastern Boeotia, south of Thebes where the glory Battle of Plataea in 479 BC took place, in which an alliance of Hellenic city-states defeated the Persians.