„The perceptible world is a distortion“, claims Platon in his allegory of the cave. In his artwork, Greek-rooted artist Christo Daskaltsis from Berlin, Germany, tries to show that our process of seeing can not distinguish between what is truly there and our perception of what is there.
„I want the observer to see that he sees nothing”, he states. He wants us to realize that – fooled by our eyes – we oftentimes judge too quickly by appearances.
If we whatch Daskaltsis‘ paintings, we see a structured material surface. But instead of remaining on the surface, we dive into the painting deeper and deeper and, by the influence of our memory and experience, we start seeing things; things that usually remind us of the beauty of nature. Here we may see a close-up of a crushed ice plate or the bubbly foam of the sea waves, there the structure of snowy mountain peaks or the desert‘s dunes viewed from outer space.
Then we are suddenly taken back to the painting‘s surface and remain caught on its material properties again, realizing that what we have just seen is neither what is there nor what is meant to be there: the painting‘s structure is nothing more and nothing less than a chemical reaction between oil paint, turpentine and alkyd. The artist steps consciously back in this process and lets the structure being constructed by chance and the materials themselves.
Where does the abstraction stop and when does our memory and imagination come into play to create meaning without us even realizing it?
Christo Daskaltsis wants us thus drain our overstimulated perception and to recharge it with new insights about ourselves. His artwork shows the relation between object and observer not only in Platonic terms of distortion, but also in terms of identity. Because by experiencing his artwork, we are forced to put ourselves into question in terms of cognition, imagination, rationality and emotions – briefly, with all our most intimate senses.