Athena Revisited

“An essentially accompanied emptiness, where the visible outlines of the figures exist in a symbiotic relationship with the invisible void of the white graphic surface…”

– Georgios Sourmelis

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I once had the great pleasure of having a tour of emptiness in classical art in Athens by this philosopher-painter. Though the marble statues of the gods, awe-inspiring in their smooth vacuity, were originally painted in bright colors, there are Greek artworks that do use the empty space of whiteness to enliven the surface- lekythoi vases. There are many ways of interpreting the graphic surface of the divine statues which fluctuate between still abstract emptiness and embodied lively colorfulness. Paradoxically, the whiteness is experienced as a presentification of a constant past, and of the statue’s ‘essence’ when in reality it is in itself  a distancing from the object’s historical truth, its colors, by the flux of time. Stillness from movement.

 

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