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Harm Bouckaert Gallery Catalog By Nicolas A. Moufarrege
  -  Critical Essays   -  Harm Bouckaert Gallery Catalog By Nicolas A. Moufarrege

Harm Bouckaert Gallery Catalog By Nicolas A. Moufarrege

“Philip Tsiaras”


Before Earth and before New York, there was water and light. Because there was water, there was man. And because there was light, there was colour. The rain fell in drops and as the rays passed through the downpour, the spectrum spattered and the tears wept. Odd shaped spheres. The membrane of a limpid surface where anything can happen.

But it’s always your eyes, you, you who see. You, who look. You, who interrogate. You, the species.

Philip Tsiaras slides his sheet of drawing paper underneath an aqueous membrane. As he tries to fix the image, it flows away, it seeps into the paper. The colours swirl into one another; the shapes drift. The film develops. What is set is fixed in motion. What moves is the trance.

At a time when figurative art is the rage, a series of portraits may seem what most approaches the going trend. Tsiaras’ portraits, however, are apart from the trend. Nonsi- tuational, they are abstract, organic forms that move towards the depiction of the archetype. Washed out of time, theirtruth is the truth of masks, which in its turn, isanoteon illusion. I have seen all the faces of Tsiaras. They slip between my fingers, about the liquid cornea in my eyes. They remain in my mind.

The Liquid Portraits are magically obsessed. The Image of birth captured in a pool of jism, the Stiff Horses allude to the life-giving source. Mystic meat and the hard pencil that marks its anxieties with swirls and scratches. I exit from the body; primitive and rude. I am ill-mannered but I am beautiful. My masks give the cue and motive to a speech of the triumph of Beauty over Death. Who am I? A fluid formula; x equals zero. It’s not a question of man or woman. I am man and woman.

Every metaphysics begins with an anguish of the self, which then becomes universal; so that those obsessed by frivolity prefigure authentically tormented minds. The superficial idler, haunted by the specter of age, is closer to wisdom than a savant quite unconcerned with himself. Christ discovered death, his death, and wounded, renounced everything and imposed his renunciation on others. In order to face up to Nothingness, Tsiaras transforms it into terrible Question.

The profundity of Tsiaras lies in his understanding of the superficiality of Spirit. Baroque, byzantine and brut, Dubuffet meets Klimt. I am lost in the haze of red and gold chloroform. The Mask is for and against Nature. I must resolve the Mysteries. Who are you? The fear in the poetry of original sin.

Disappearing is still appearing. Holy and devilish. The perception of the spatial image of a face is lost. Suddenly, a deficiency appears. Just as suddenly, an ‘extra’, an other. Another eye, another, another mouth, another nose, another face. Another, an other. In the liquid enclave, two warriors are fighting. The daggers warn of the painful wounds. There is blood for dripping, but there is also gold for Life! I smile, I cry. Sensation lingers on the threshold of pain. I quickly attain the troubled serenity. Janus; god of gates and beginnings presents a double-face. To whom would you I listen? I hear the greek chorus. Have I become suggestible? So it would seem. I will listen to the other. Who am I? Who are you?

Fuck it with a horse dick.

No, I will not give up sensuousness. My other is beautiful and ornate. No, I will be vain. I shall be the wax in the sun. And the source of the wax. Tsiaras collects the showers of pointillist pigment, touches every orifice, fills every pore. He surrounds us with the ghosts of the dream of the improvisation of the stars and their extinction. The space of the drawings is galactic; in it the being disdains the routine of being and rushes towards the abysses of savagery and decadence. And there exhausts oneself at the beginning and at the conclusion of moments. There, somewhere between frenzy and contemplation, familiar with the madness of saints and the after taste of someone else’s saliva, there, I see reflected the grimace of the absolute. …

Backstage, a mask is shed; another is painted on the sweat.

Tsiaras wears the masks well. Because Philip Tsiaras is an ancient Greek actor.


April 1984