As published in In Focus, Vol. 10, No 2, June 2013
GEORGE CONSTANTINOU “of unknown time” ART EXHIBITION AND BOOK PRESENTATION
George Constantinou is a good man with a great soul and rich feelings, which led him to the road we see him today.
It would have been a lot better, if instead of others talking on his behalf, he would sit in front of us and talk to us, reveal the poetry that he hides inside of him and recite it. And I know what I am talking about. He captivates me each time, with the beauty of his soul. And he would have us in front of him listening to him, just like we used to listen in admiration to the fairy tales of our grandmothers in the past. And believe me, we would have come to know George better tonight and we would have admired him even more.
He, however, threw the ball to us…
I am one of his lucky friends, in our shared misfortune of being refugees.
George Constantinou is playing, just like I am playing; he is playing like kids who feel the need to play. Art is a great need for him, and he confesses this very clearly in his text The Method, the elaborate edition of unknown time, which accompanies today’s exhibition. What is more real, than the revelation of the soul of the artist to the world?
His play is real, and he is playing with all that he has learned, with his entire soul. And this is what is most important. Because, in our lives, we are constantly learning, if we want to learn. And I wish the blessing of the Archbishop of Australia Stylianos comes true to “stay vigilant in your holy ‘observation tower’”.
And I will add something that I wrote five years ago about the artist:
In the face of George Constantinou you can find a born artist. Great teachers need to come his way to support the work he does for all of us and for his country. The stages he must pass are many, but his talent is so effortless and his need to produce good work is so compelling, that he will pass them one by one, because he knows no other way.
From then until now, George Constantinou has validated my expectations of him. His work is more relaxed and free. And the more free it becomes, the better it is. As much as he argues that “I am uneducated in art”, he can lead the way, because it is within him. Many “uneducated men” have out-shined others that were accepted by Schools of Fine Art and graduated from them. But a degree does not make the artist.
I have looked closely at George’s new work and, to be honest, I love it. Many details of his work make me say: “Well done George!” And the way he praises the simple, beautiful, civilized, modest and proud man really moves me. Our hero, our true hero. The choices that he makes show his respect for his country and tradition.
Many artists have based their work on Byzantine Art, especially in Greece, but also anywhere that Greeks live. And I am not speaking of religious paintings, but about artistic works influenced by Byzantine Art.
Every artist that has walked this road has expressed his own language of visual art. Whoever has left his signature on the history of Art, is the one that has freed himself from the language of the Byzantines, stopped copying or imitating them and created his own work, with his personal signature.
A great example is Fotis Kontoglou!
But also the engraver A. Tassos: The engraved faces of the heroes of this great engraver are based on Byzantine Art. Based on it he has created the faces of his own heroes who work for their daily bread and in the fight for freedom and social justice. His signature is so absolute and his engraving is so complete that he has given us all a lesson. The faces are created in a way that no one has done before. Many of us imitated him, without realizing Tassos’ starting point.
The great artist, however, is the one who ends with pupils, students, or even worse imitators, and becomes a teacher in his own lessons, educating and making the livesof those around him and those who see his work anywhere in the world more beautiful.
This is the road that my friend George Constantinou has to find and walk on, wherever it leads him, and then find another road further on and carry on.
To walk hand in hand with the great ones.
I thank him for this honor and I wish him a great journey.Hambis Limassol, June 7, 2012
From Ludwig of the Attic
A teacher who dreams by travelling through the insatiable eyes of his students, keeps the horizons of his sensitivity open, meets with knowledge like a bee that sets out for the blossoming valley.
Because we know our fate, God, perhaps out of guilt, has given us art as a dowry so that we can dream of immortality. Poetry is the art of the speech, but when painting overhears the conversation of the words, it automatically becomes poetry.
George Constantinou “narrates” to us, in color, the beautiful sadness. It comes and goes in time as if from next door, he dresses in Byzantine garb the faces of today, knowing that Saints are those pained by love, with blue jeans and sportex, but also with the same tears since the beginning of time.
I feel honor and happiness that my songs have supported you in your research. For the great questions that we will fortunately never receive an answer to, I wish art will redeem us.
With many thanks and love,Ludwig of the Attic
Athens, 9 June 2007
“Studies in self-portrait… A simple need to depict myself? A narcissistic gaze into the waters of art? A selfishness of my own making for a stay in eternity? Or maybe an attempt filled with agony to seek self-knowledge? My truth which I hide skillfully in the glass or the lens of the camera. It is the desire of feeling my inner face, which only my soul and hand know.” – George A. Constantinou
Born in 1969 with origins from Akaki of the family of Costis Stasis, and from Morfou, of the family of Georgios Karapoutsiou. Then, in 1974, memories were disconnected at 5 years old. I am considered a refugee because I never grew roots in this side of our island. Studies, almost a lawyer, I managed to escape at the last minute, eventually a teacher.
Painting and I met early, but our great love developed in Thessaloniki in 1991 where, as a student, I went to paymy rent to Miss Eleni. “I’m going to learn how to make these…” I said, pointing at the religious paintings that for years I had not noticed…Her son was a monk, Father Pavlos Politis. With him I began to see through the light of Byzantine Art. Ayion Oros, churches, Thessaloniki… travels filled with knowledge and experiences.
I never learned how to make religious paintings… Married with my hyacinth (Theodora) who brings a flavour of Kyrenia and the voice of Akanthou.
Maria, Stavrini and Anastasis are my top three living works. My acquaintance with my beloved friend and spiritual Father in the field of art, the engraver Hambis, was decisive for my subsequent travels in the field of art. It was his push in 2007 that led to my first individual exhibition.
Finally, I am not considered a painter or an artist, and I don’t want to be called one. Find something else to call me… I declare myself a teacher who escapes in the seas of my colours…