I didn’t quite know what to expect when I was invited to go and see Greek artist Markos Blatsios’ exhibition. But as soon as I walked into the Genesis Gallery in Athens I was immediately captivated by Markos’ monochromatic, atmospheric paintings. Some parts are realistically painted while others are blurred, making the scenes and people depicted appear mysterious, eerie even. Are these images from a dream? Or a childhood memory perhaps? Either way, each image is as if we have secretly opened a window into a dark room, and are now witnessing, unnoticed in the shadows, an event that was meant to remain private. In fact, the interplay between light and shadow is the main theme of these paintings, with the artist capturing the moment when something emerges from the darkness — the exact and fleeting moment when something is being expressed to others.
The exhibition is simply titled ‘Key’, because for Markos his images are like gateways to other places which can be ‘‘unlocked’’ by the viewer using their own ''key''. It made me think for a moment: what is MY key? What power does it give me? How can I use it to ‘‘unlock'' more experiences? As the academic Theodore Antoniou expressed, Markos ''introduces us to infinite, magical and unexpected worlds. He activates our fantasy and our minds.'' Although I was deeply moved by all of the paintings, I particularly liked the one titled ‘Never Say Never’, depicting a young boy resting his forehead against a wall, his shadow in a shape that reminded me of an angel! The whole exhibition is like a ‘shadow theatre’ of our deepest fears and desires, case in point the deadly axe that casts a shadow in the shape of a teddy bear, and the two hands that transform into two lovers kissing.
It was a real privilege to have been physically present in what is actually Markos Blatsios’ first solo exhibition ever, and to have discovered such an inspiring and talented Greek artist. If you are in town this week, don’t miss the chance to visit.