2020 Supplication

This year the theme of our new exhibit"Supplication" is the diverse forms of the Tree.

'One day a little revelation became the new guide for my thoughts and sensitivities,' writes Costas Tsoclis in 1973. 'My life was enriched and beautified by the continually changing image of a tree that burst open to reveal its specific and enduring truth: the wood itself, which was hidden for so long beneath its transient image. And I passionately loved that marvellous wound and found a reciprocal relation among object, material, and nature. Μy latest work is an attempt to unite in a single artistic event the image, the source of the image, and the use of this source.'

From that moment the Tree has continued to inspire Costas Tsoclis.

From the crushed trunk at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, to the "Colossal Still-Life" (a tree suspended by crane outside the National Museum of Contemporary Art), as well as the 2001 "Subterranean Park" installation in the Ethniki Amyna Metro Station in Athens, and including his latest work now presented here at our Museum, the artist has always stimulated the public, bringing them face to face with the destruction of nature as well as with its beauty, inviting viewers to look beyond the image.

Studying or attempting to 'read' Tsoclis's work, you are invited by the artist himself to encounter actual circumstances of painting (in the classical sense of the Greek word 'zo ography' or 'life-writing') in combination with illusory elements and intense emotions. For his own reasons, the artist, respectful of the natural integrity of his chosen objects, instead of truncating them as in a photograph, allows them to overflow beyond the limits of the canvas, thus uniting the painted with the natural space.

This season he fills the rooms of the Museum with branches and twigs, he refashions simple pieces of wood into tree trunks, he incorporates a railway crosstiein the middle of a mirrored construction, and in situ he affixes paper leaves, transforming it into a blossoming tree, which accompanies the new works he has created this year, despite the pressure of unhappy events. These works suggest black anthropomorphic figures (parts of the chorus of an ancient tragedy). So, in the first room, where you are transfixed by the starkly imposing image of twelve forms, and seeing at the same moment the reflexion of the tree, you find yourself inclined to discover the play of shadows that are variously thrown, according to your personal viewpoint, your chosen place to stand. Or you may want to take up the process of guessing the artist's idea that led to the 'blossoming' of the tree trunk, realising at the same moment that these forms have a rhythm, a movement, independent of their theme.

By his choice of the mirror Tsoclis again unites the natural with the imaginary space and by his art moves beyond nature, driving the viewer to discover how he or she is placed in the environment, through a process of relocation and self-analysis, urging her or him by reflexion to surpass the self and be led to more spiritual processes, to Supplication. This in turn will lead the viewer (if he or she wishes, of course) to catharsis.

The artist's painting and use of identical natural materials (stones, wood, earth) create imaginary environments, new spaces for imagery, and fresh conditions of communication with art, as their presence becomes more meaningful in the Museum that is dedicated to his work.

In the second room we exhibit pieces from the Museum collection and from the artist's private collection, all on the same theme. While these works may cause initial questioning and concern for the destruction of nature, shortly the viewer may allow herself or himself to be led by painted gestures to the new image-space that they create. One can submerge oneself in colour and its space.

In the upper room we present "Passage", a series of drawings in which Tsoclis, somewhat ironically but also rather seriously, presents his lifelong relation to art in all the stages of his career as an artist, burdened with his share of the weight of responsibility in relation to contemporary art and how he has managed that burden over the years.


Chrysanthi Koutsouraki

Director of the Costas Tsoclis Museum