Jannis Psychopedis, Visual Artist, for the macro-micro-cosmos exhibition

“Monk-rocks with cold hair
Silent break the bread of desolation”
Odysseus Elytis[1]

The paintings of Denny Theocharakis moves in an atmosphere of coarse poetic script; an atmosphere that is so eloquently expressed by the surrealist, fok song-like verse of Odysseas Elytis.

The rocks, the wilderness, the silence, all of them being poetic images of great linguistic density in Elytis’ poetry, through the expression and personal idiom of Denny Theocharakis are transformed into visual art forms, recording, thus, a new emotional imaging of the earth, a landscape of primeval and fundamental property, a morphology of an arid, rugged, but nonetheless inhabited soil.

Three rocks, a few burnt pines a solitary chapel
And further up
The same landscape repeats itself all over again
Three rocks, gate-shaped and rusty
A few burnt pines, black and amber
And a square hut, all-whitewashed
And even further up, time and again
The same landscape all over again scales up
To the horizon, to the gloaming sky
George Seferis [2]

Poetry accompanies images and images accompany poetry.

In her quest for structural shapes and forms, Denny Theocharakis lets herself be guided by the very material she uses, namely the frugal charcoal and the black-and-white color, improvising with compositional dare and expressive freedom.

The free playfulness and dynamism of the lines, the vivid gestures, as well as the austerity of structure bring forth an agile, vibrant and versatile surface. Lines, dots, spots, creating dense and loose contours, chiaroscuros, all of them mould atop the volumes of this rocky form visual domains of striking energy and abundant painting material.

Amidst this coarse penmanship of volumes, human dwellings emerge in complete concordance with their milieu.

In this rough, upward spiral of architectural structure, in these eroded Doric columns, human presence, human habitation and nature become one entity.

The pursuit of a “different truth” and the defense of freedom forced people to look always, either metaphorically or literally, for the supreme and the transcendental.

These stone, vertical masses, giving the impression of a chiselled sculptural form, are reminiscent of monasteries hovering in the sky along with huts built from any building materials at hand - such as soil, stones, wood – and rooted to the rocks and hang on to them, betraying the firm need of survival.

These masses also bring in mind a megalithic architecture, primitive structures made by human communities, by people who have assimilated with their environment, they themselves and their lives, resembling gigantic totem-like forms towering over the wilderness of the plains.

They look like raw trunks of age-old trees that, despite the passage of time – and perhaps by virtue of this passage of time – have safeguarded a precious material of life, the microcosms of an archetypal harmony of the elements of nature; human communities which through the centuries have transmuted into natural phenomena.

There natural phenomena, the stalagmites made of human life and stone represent in the painting of Denny Theocharakis a visual reflection of the patterns and spirit of non-European cultures; it is both a quiet and an outward dialogue with Asian art, with the meditation and the aesthetic through of the Orient.

Here, much like in the Orient, there is neither the realistic reproduction of nature nor its mere abstract version, but rather its poetic interpretation, an inspired equivalent of visual emotion.

There rough rocks with their repeated rhythms and forms reaching for the sky and the spiral composition of the masses make an unconscious reference to the structures of the holy religious texts of oriental worship which, through the constant repeat of verses, bring about a deep submission of the soul, meditation and mental-spiritual transcendence.

Nature can neither be duplicated, visually represented or serve as an occasion for a plain, decorative calligraphy. Matisse used to say that “exactitude is not truth”, and this seems to be at work in this case. It is emotional tension in the painting of Denny Theocharakis that deconstructs nature and seeks the truth of “another exactitude”, seeks forms that are liberated from representation, but are committed to sensitivity, expressive force, lyrical inspiration and the restless spirit of the creator.

[1] Excerpt from the long poem “Song Heroic and Mourning for the Lost Second Leiutenant of the Albanian Campaign”, translated by Jeffrey Carson & Nikos Sarris. Our warmest thanks to Mrs I. Iliopoulou for providing us with the translation of the poem.

[2] Verses from the poem “Bottle in the Sea”