7 May – 1 Jun 2019 Athens ART CURATOR Yannis Bolis
acrylic on canvas,
56 x 81 cm
In his project Taboo, Stamatis Theoharis –whose style here reflects both a pop aesthetic and a vintage, homoerotic-kinky iconography– creates a complex web of references, focusing on the limitations and fluidity of gender identities and the concepts of femininity and masculinity, commenting on male and female roles and the certainties and stereotypical perceptions that accompany them. In his compositions – characterised by their subversive-surrealist spirit, ironic attitude but also by a disarming, anarchical sense of humour– the male and female body are presented as hedonic images, in a constant interplay of disguises and transformations, alternations and continual re-identifications, premised on the overcoming of social prejudices, guilt-ridden feelings, repressed desires and taboos. An ambiguous and provocative world, which is also strangely romantic and sensual, arises as an extension of reality and experience; this is a world in which sensitivity coexists with cruelty, the intimate with the explicit, the concepts of liberation and acceptance with carnal pleasure, the manifestation of sexuality with fetichism, sadism and masochism. The staging of the exhibited works –which allude to imaginative and original collages–, the vibrant colours, the realistic-photographic rendering, the accuracy of the design and the clarity of decorative motifs, all vitally contribute to the end result. Bodies tied to each other, dressed in black latex uniforms, men in lustful positions wearing women’s jewellery, mask-wearing faces, marble busts and playful cupids “disguised” as little Pans, are surrounded and joined by images of skulls, insects, weapons-flowers, human brains and pieces of raw meat, sharp objects and elaborate rope knots, animals and imaginary mythological creatures… These are images whose symbolism is more or less legible; they reveal, conceal and subvert, while stimulating the imagination and triggering a participative-complicit relationship with the viewer.