Tenderness of a Cutting Sword
The Breeder Galley
“It’s when you strike with confidence that the softness of material carries out the lethal blow.
In the face of rampant anger, confused impulses in bestial expression a caress releases the suppressed. This is how you cut with tenderness.”
The exhibition takes as its starting point an imagined battle between women and beasts. The characters that populate the canvases are based on mythological references of ancient Greece, Egypt and Mesopotamia. Figures like Athina, goddess of wisdom as well as Ishtar, goddess of love and war are the main protagonists, whilst Angra Mainyu and the legend of St. George also contribute to the formation of the characters. Patterns inspired by traditional embroidery and textiles add to the melody of form and colour while engaging in a cross-cultural dialogue.
Structured around the archetypal dichotomy of light and dark, good and evil or righteous and corrupt we are presented with two opposing sides. Despite the seemingly absolute nature of these dualities, we are invited to re-meditate on them not as concrete forms but as malleable structures capable of adopting qualities different to their predetermined ones. In this way, we might consider that which at first appears malicious in nature as something damaged, ridden with guilt or in emotional distress. Similarly, that which is considered delicate and fragile might in fact be very resilient and strong.
In paintings like Athina and Her Girl Kill the Beast and in Death by Fair Hands we see a clash of these two forces leading to the death of the Beast. Here the element of death is seen not as an abrupt end but rather as a way of liberation, releasing something and letting it take on new forms. This is based on the idea that it is exactly the suppressed emotions and distress that cause the initial formation of the beast and by releasing these emotions you “kill” it letting it take on new forms. In this way, death becomes an act of acceptance. By accepting the nature of something you release the otherness from its bestial form, letting it become something new. Thus we come to see death as an ultimate act of acceptance or in other words we come to see it as a form of love.
Having established an aesthetic language following his previous work with urbanity as well as symbols of the Greek identity, Lappas now aims to construct a poetic narrative focusing on more esoteric subjects. Rather than following a linear avenue of thought, the work presents a space where different interpretations reconstruct new meanings and draw new connections. Through the use of form, multi-layered compositions as well as colour pallets, the artist continues his exploration of the language of painting.