Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Sotiris Sorogas

Sotiris Sorogas, 50 years, at the Benaki Museum, Pireos Street Annexe.

We saw this exhibition three weeks ago but I have only now managed to finish the post. As all retrospectives, it is very interesting in that it shows the development of the artist.

The very early works are similar to those of Moralis, Papavasiliou and others of the 'golden period' of Greek painting who studied at the same school of art. The paintings of the 60s are different because they have colour, something that is absent in his later work.  It is also interesting to note that the themes that fascinate him are present from early on, namely, crumbling walls, ruined houses, decay.

The early years

Landscape in Vouliagmeni, 1958

Houses, 1959

The 1960s

Ruins, 1966

Garden Wall, 1968

Workers' Houses at the Plaka Settlement in Laurio, 1969

Wall, 1968

Part of Ruined Wall, 1967

Part of Ruined Wall, 1967

Garden Gate, 1966

Sea Water-soaked Timbers, 1966

Ruins in the Snow, 1966

Landscape, Kaisariani, 1965

Landscape, Kaisariani, 1965

Red Poppy and Stones, 1972

Crumbling Wall, 1970


Alexandra, 1984

Portrait, 1982

Rachel Kapon, 1999

Seated Man, Triptych, 1971

Black Openings

Black Opening, 1982  (acrylic and charcoal on canvas)

Black Opening, 1982

Well in Amorgos, 1983, (acrylic and charcoal on canvans), four different studies

Well in Amorgos, 1983

The 'Wood' Series

The 'Wood' series on the right

Ruin in Pilio, 1984

Ruin, 1980

Ruins in Xanthi


Burnt House, 1980


This is one of the prevailing motifs in Sorogas' work and one that is reminiscent of the Greek landscape. The increased use of white is occasionally broken by a small splash of colour, sometimes  a red poppy which could be connected to Seferis'  'Flowers of the Rock Facing the Green Sea', a major influence on Sorogas, or a piece of fabric, reminders of human presence.

Stones and Red Cloth, 1990

Chunks of Marble, 1999 (acrylic on canvas)


Time and decay continue as the main themes in this series. The remains of pieces of machinery, cranes and cogs from the quarries of Laurio and Pendeli are the subjects of this series of paintings - white has been sibstituted by the earthy tones of brown and ochre depicting with exhausting persistence disintegration and decay.


Chains on Pebbles, 1997   (acrylic and charcoal on canvas)


Metal Sheets, Diptych Part I, (acrylic on canvas)  1995


Metal Sheets, Diptych II, (acrylic on canvas)  1995

Equipment from an old Quarry I, 1995,  (acrylic and charcoal on canvas)


Rust, 1993, (acrylic and charcoal on canvas)


Discarded Equipment, 1998,  (acrylic and charcoal on canvas)


Part of Old Machinery, 1998,  (acrylic and charcoal on canvas)

Mooring on the Beach in the Mani Region, 1996,  (acrylic and charcoal on canvas)

Metal Near the Sea, 2007,  (acrylic and charcoal on canvas)


Sea Water-Soaked Timber

Parts of old barges, thick chains for mooring ships, forgotten and wrecked boats, ruined caiques - a series of works that Sorogas is still working on. Talking about this series of work, he refers to the following lines by Seferis:

What are they after,
Our Souls,
Travelling on rotten, sea water-soaked timbers
From harbour to harbour?

Sorogas says: "I am trying to deal with this subject - not the boat or caique in its entirety, but a part of it, a fragment of it, which is already wrecked, often making it hard to tell where this piece of timber came from and which suggests the distant presence of a vessel that used to travel in the open sea and now lies deserted on a shore".


Sea water-soaked Timbers, Tetraptych, 2010,  (acrylic on canvas)





Old Boat in Syros, 2006 (acrylic on canvas)


Wooden Platform  (acrylic)

Sea water-soaked Timbers, 2010

"The subjects that I choose are those that are close to loss, to the dying: ruined houses, empty windows, old wells, old pieces of wood, old and rusty pieces of machinery. Thus, by depicting all these, I am declaring my sympathy for them, but as we all know, a statement is valid only if it can be proven true. So, I hope and wish that my works do record something of what I long for".