Meet the (Greek) Artist: Alexandros Vasmoulakis

Living and working in the art field for a number of years now, it has become apparent that there is a gap in awareness around the vibrant and bustling contemporary Greek art scene. So, in the aftermath of Documenta 14, Athens, I would like to create a series of profiles on modern and contemporary Greek artists and to share their work with everyone and anyone interested.

Alexandros Vasmoulakis is a Greek artist, who’s worked in Greece, London and Berlin. I first became familiar with his work while still an architecture student researching in Athens. At the time he was putting up works on walls all across the city center. It had become a game detecting those works with every visit and seeing new ones that had popped up. His wall-art mostly portrayed women in a caricature-like fashion yet with an embedded photographic quality (see image below). Vasmoulakis’ wall-art technique resembled that of a collage. He would take bits and pieces of images and assemble them into monumentally large murals.
alexandros-vasmoulakis_superman-acrylic-aerosol-rhinestones-on-wall-mar-2011_1000

Early work by Aleksandros Vasmoulakis, Attiki, Greece. Image found here.

As years passed, I became more familiar with his work by speaking with the artist himself as well as through visual research. Vasmoulakis was kind enough to answer a few of my questions once, years ago, for a project on public spaces. Following his work has been an exciting process — it has become more and more abstract maintaining a strong sense of vibrancy and movement, sometimes including an underlying sense of destruction or decay. One example of his work’s transition from wall-art to painting (and, thus, from public to private art) can be seen in the 2014 solo exhibition titled “My Eyes are Seeing You” {v}. The paintings exhibited still resembled the older works in the rendering of the figures faces and the choice of coloring{t}.
A free glimpse of things that the most jaded voyeur would have paid a small fortune to watch | Oil & Acrylic on canvas 160x240cm lifogr

Aleksandros Vasmoulakis, A Free Glimpse of things that the most Jaded Voyeur would have Paid a Small Fortune to Watch (2014?). Oil & Acrylic on canvas 160x240cm. Image from lifo.gr

Many of Vasmoulakis works contain beautiful bright yet soft colors, easy and pleasing to they eye, even when the subject is morbid or refers to destruction. In the works in “My Eyes are Seeing You” Vasmoulakis had taken the collage/layering method to a new level as the works became more abstract creating references to Surrealism. Many of the works were synthesized and thematized in a way that often bring to mind works of Salvador Dali such as his sexualized sketches {u}. Additionally, Vasmoulakis’ piecing together of image layers recalls cubist methods of synthesizing images with the paintings presenting a broken perspective and puzzling sense of depth. In some works included in the 2014 exhibition Vasmoulakis appears to have even drawn direct references to the cubists like in “A Free Glimpse of Things that the most Jaded Voyeur would have Paid a Small Fortune to Watch” where the half moon, banana-like object in the center of the canvas, coupled with the female figure in a suggesting pose above is reminiscent of Picasso’s “Demoiselles d’ Avignon.”{v} 
Untitled Gouache and Pastel on Wood

Aleksandros Vasmoulakis, Untitled, (2016?). Gouache and Paste on Wood. Image from here.

Lately, Vasmoulakis has moved his practice towards installations, and painting and drawing chiefly on wooden surfaces (as can be seen on his online portfolio here). His style has changed even more since his wall-art days shifting towards an abstract expressionism that is nonetheless characteristically his own. The works still maintain a sense of movement and tactility that expand their existence and influence beyond the two-dimensional limitations of their flat wooden surfaces. Vasmoulakis’ works create the effect of multiple layers and depth that draw the viewer deeper into them with every glance.
Among others, hist latest work has been exhibited at the Breeder Gallery in Athens.
{t} see older works by Vasmoulakis on his online portfolio
{u} see the Salvador Dali museum, Berlin – permanent collection
For anyone who reads Greek this article has more information. See also:
The artist’s interview with propaganda.gr
{v}A review of “My Eyes are Seeing You” here


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