about Angelos Spartalis art

by Nikos Koundouros, Manos Doukas, Ninos Fenek Mikelidis,
by Manos Stefanides, Polly Hatzimarkou, Maria Maragkou

text also available in Greek






Maria Maragkou at the opening of the exhibition "The apology of Socrates in Kaufbeuren", Justice of the Pieace Court of Aghios Nikolaos, Crete, 18 December 2015. Watch the video here xxx  

Angelos Spartalis, an exceptional artist of our times, but at the same time innocent in a period of cultural crisis, tackles old tragic issues that he updates transforming them in a surreal fair. 

[…] The modern artist is searching to answer his own ontological question using the means at his disposal. He goes back in history, in sources and uses canvas, color and film based on his own sensitivities and particularities against his time since the medium is not what matters in art. Societies that once eliminated dissidents nowadays have the privilege to ignore them. The artist, most of the times an exile in terms of current habits and common taste, is defending himself. The issue Angelos Spartalis chose to treat is a testament of his own positions about art and life. The Apology of Socrates in the doomed hospital testifies the guilt of mankind for crimes of complicity that it committed by remaining silent and sometimes apologizing.

Maria Maragkou
Art critic, Artistic Director of the
Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete

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In the photo: Aristidis Yiayiannos, Angelos Spartalis and Manos Stefanidis at the opening of the exhibition "From the Earth to the Moon", TITANIUM gallery, Athens, 12 September 2011.

Angelos Spartalis is among the few artists who continue to defend the tattered flag of the avant garde, the value of the images that resist the vulgarity of television. The exhibition presented in Titanium Yiayiannos Gallery is titled "From Earth to Moon" and includes paintings influenced by the rock years of the 70's. Through heavy bitumen colors, earthy tones and nervous brushstrokes Spartalis investigates the genealogy of the images that literally and metaphorically brought us here: from the Earth [land] (Canaan, hortus conclusus, Promised Land) to the Moon (Lunar landscape, lunacy, the metaphor of Armageddon).

And here lies the epilogue of the efforts of the painter. The simple yet momentous fact that Angelos Spartalis -awarded filmmaker and mixed media artist- loves and still believes in painting. As long as the painting does not confine itself in decorative and emotional adjustments but takes a stand on the issues of the era; to propose aesthetics as a revolution.

Manos Stefanides
Art Historian / Professor, University of Athens

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In the photo: Nikos Koundouros and Nadia Spartali, 22 August 2006, Aghios Nikolaos, Crete.

Angelos Spartalis  is definitely a pioneer, genius film-maker, and obviously an expert of the new, digital cinema.I saw his film “The Apple in your Head” and I marvelled at it, as I always marvel at whatever I feel I could never do myself.

I loved the way he keeps bringing up the sea and all his other obsessions, again and again, the clever use of the protagonist’s face, this patchwork of endless disparate elements that together, in the end, manage to do politics and move the viewer. It takes intelligence and shrewdness for someone to discover in this loud-mouth, hospitable Cretan chap, with his flowing raki and numerous friends, the creator who feels loneliness to the bone. Undoubtedly, Spartalis “suffers” from what I would call “Delirium Psycholocomotivum”.

For years I have been thinking of all these young people who hunger to be part of the glittering but fake world of cinema, which we all manipulate today in our own way.

I truly believe that Spartalis’ work has a full, international potential in the avant-guard world, and I wish him good luck on the path that he is treading.

Nikos Koundouros
Director / Honorary Professor, University of Athens
15 August 2007, Aghios Nikolaos, Crete

The text that follows is written as an introduction
to the catalogue of the group exhibition A WORLD MADE OF TEARS

a world made of tears
By Manos Doukas
Art Historian

o what is painting’s fault?
Painting is not to blame at all. Not honest painting. To put it in Spartalis’ language, if a modern Van Gogh were to do only ‘artistic performances’, he would be as unjust to himself as a Da Vinci who would add a moustache to Mona Lisa (Duchamp is granted the right to). What can art be other than communicating vessels of expressive mediums and a fruitful dialogue within a frame of liberty? Maybe one eye needs to cry so the other can see…

[…] Angelos Spartalis made a film about tears that feels like a song. A film in which the only one who really cries on the screen is his new-born daughter (we cry when we are born, not when we die). Among the people of the artist’s immediate environment we also find Alexis Politis and Nikos Koundouros, and they all talk successively about tears: when do we cry, how do we cry, when did we last cry? The camera focuses on the people’s eyes, as if to state the most important thing: no tear can move us unless we have previously been moved by the eyes. This is exactly why Spartalis will paint his heroes with a personal expressionism - that of consent, of an adventurous but not loud-mouth surface (portions of which he ‘uplifts’ with cement), making use of various elements, from the French Fauves to the recent German Neuwilde. With these portraits he returns to figurative painting, through which he obviously has a lot more to tell.

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Ōhe text that follows was published
in ELEFTHEROTYPIA newspaper, 05/04/2005

Better every year
by Ninos Fenek Mikelidis
Film Critic, vice-president of FIPRESCI (1984-1988), member of the European Film Academy

he  Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, directed consistently for seven years by Dimitris Eipides, continues its upward course with a programme that, this year, is undoubtedly its best. [...]

[...] Miltos Sahtouris was unexpectedly present in the 25 minutes film “Wishes” by Angelos Spartalis in the 7th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival. A poetic, avant-garde essay, inspired by the true story of Manolis, a 6-year-old boy with a congenital disease, and based on a poetic -with surrealistic elements- narration, a part of which, referring to the story of a giant, is taken from Sahtouris’ poetry.

With reference to dreams (and “WISHES” as the director calls them), with forests, encyclopaedias, fish in a frying pan, old German hags etc, which he combines with drawings that look like modern painting (the director admits influence by Gaitis and Akrithakis), which reminded me of Norman McLaren's cinema, but also with documentary elements (the father, who talks about Manolis), Spartalis made an artistic and beautiful, eventually moving film, one of the surprises of this year’s festival.[...]




The text that follows is written as an introduction
to the catalogue of the exhibition DOUBLE PORTRAITS

Angelos Spartalis
The Image and its Meaning

by Manos Stefanides
Art Historian
, Curator, National Gallery of Greece

omething is happening in Rhodes.

And I do not say this conventionally, much less tourist-wise. The presence, for several years now, of a Municipal Art Gallery of high standards and its recent renovation, and also the creation of new events related to contemporary art have contributed to the existence on the emerald island, today, of an indigenous artistic potential which is not provincial or local in the least. I have been watching with increasing interest the actions and exhibitions of MoTeR, the artistic group who activate themselves around art historian Polly Hatzimarkou in the Centre of Contemporary Art, in the Medieval Town of Rhodes.

Among creators whom I have seen personally, I distinguish Angelos Spartalis both for his multileveled search in the field of plastic arts and for the deep spirituality of his approach to his themes (or, I should better say, his obsessions). For what differentiates the artist from the simply pretending-through-art painter is the assiduousness to certain passions, which in some eras are called "values" or "ideals" and in some others "neuroses" or "paranoia" and they are stoned....

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The text that follows is written as an introduction
to the catalogue of the exhibition DOUBLE PORTRAITS

double portraits
by Polly Hatzimarkou
Art Historian-critic
Curator, Museum of Modern Greek Art

oseph Beuys writes:

"The most important part of creativity, or rather the truest part of the whole of the concept of creativity is freedom…". Angelos Spartalis lives - by his own choice - away from the bright lights of the capital. Since 1999, when he chose Rhodes as the place of his residence and creation, he has offered to the island remarkable artistic touches. And I say 'artistic' and not only painting ones, since with the same ease and imagination as well as freedom -in the Beuys sense-, he glides through different artistic fields: painting, installations, video, comics, writing and direction of theatrical poems and performances… Beuys goes on: "The demonstration of the results of the ways in which we put freedom of action to practice is more than mere potential offered to us. We have the duty of showing what we have produced through our freedom"....

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The text that follows is written as an introduction
to the catalogue of the exhibition PORTRAITS & GROUPS

portraits & groups
by Polly Hatzimarkou
Art Historian-critic, Curator, Museum of Modern Greek Art

t his "Portraits and Groups", Angelos Spartalis focuses on an idiosyncratic expressionism. Untamed, with vibrant colors, violent brushstrokes and scratching, unending experimentations of the "being" and the "being seen", that expressionism infuses excessive sharpness into his images and his studio. When Spartalis paints, he makes noise; he makes a mess of things and of himself. He is what he paints. He causes an art attack; an attack to the saturated aesthetics of our times, via the classical paths of oil and canvas. However, he does not bring an end at that point. The artist modifies the same idea into "mechanical prototypes" and digital prints, impulsive mixtures of painting and technological intervention. He selects lineaments from his models and adds all his passion and philosophy for life. "So the artist can open or rather, unlock the valves of sensation to bring the viewer back to life more fiercely" (D.Sylvester for F.Bacon).

From the isolated human figure that faces his/her icon in an empty room till the explosive crowded group which seems to protest, Spartalis offers a rather interesting expressionistic and challenging look that penetrates human nature".