Treatise on what is real
The true reality of art

In life only reality
Is the sense of life.
In art the only reality
Is the consiousness of art.

Without Masks

The first instictive gesture made by visitors in Angelos Panayiotidis ‘Olive Grove’ was to reach out to touch the fruit of olive trees. With the use of mixed media in art, these olives could be very easily edible, since they are arleady real they retain all the juices of the olive and an art that is authentic, unmarked by time and machinations.
Just as Zeuxis fooled the birds with his grapes, so did Angelos Panayiotidis manage to fool not only his fellow citizens but also his mother, a farmer’s wife, who was the first to see his olive and feared they might shrivel up by the time the exhibition began. The reasons for this are obvious, and evident even in the photographs, which confirm this ‘kinship’ and thw origin of the knowledge obtained on the object. Here, this accuracy is of course manifestes not as a goal, but as the process of transferring from nature to art an experience that is above all visual, an experience which leads to a tactile perception and challenge. After all, it seems that every real sculpture has a smooth surface that invites the viewer to touch it, thus realising the exhortation of a great sculptor, Henry Moore, who said tha the ‘Do Not Touch’ sign in museums should be replaced by another, encouraging the opposite.
“Please touch” particularly the fruit of these bronze olive trees, because the close ties between art and nature are especially evident here, as the outcome of complete identification, while the whole is governed by the naturalistic idealism of Greek aeshetic perception. At the same time, an exemplary refernce is made to “the representation of that which is real through art”, since “as is usual, art too accomplishes this by imitating nature”, according to Heraclitus.
The “immitation” of nature, as an archetypal as well as new function, is yet another parameter associated with the aesthetic philosophy of the ancients and also with the aesthetic issues raised during the Renaissance. And it is astonishing that Angelos Panayiotidis has forged his own personal course, enlisting his Greek instinct and perosnal experiences to continue this great process in its naturalistic dynamic and tedency to select the most beautiful out of everything encountered, since “out of the many, that which is goos is chosen, and form that, the best”. His work requires no interpretation. It is already eloquent and serves as a treatise on what is real. And the olive is the most beautiful tree. Our ancestors said it, children still proclaim it, even though they have become accustomed to foreign images.
The critics have also pronounced: A. Panayiotidis is a master of matter and a re-creator of nature, without his works ever lacking this transition from hands and vision to mind and vice versa. This olive grove, with its sculpted bronze olives, is an “installation” at the same time traditional and modern, and so eloquent in its simplicity that no words can describe it, except for those ancient, immortal words: “This grey olive branch on which our children are raised, neither young man or old or general can ever destroy, because the wakeful eye of Zeus, protector of the olive, keeps vigilant watch over it”.
Slightly paraphrasing Sophocles, the authority of the general is replaced by that of the art critic, so that we may protect this olive grove from any scornful or envious look or evil eye.
In the smog-cloaked Athens, a city ablaze in this Olympic summer, may a branch from these olives imbue our expectations with refreshing vigour and may it crown our faith in glory, in an art that is real. In the “true reality” of art,things do not seem to be divided into real and imaginary, but into artful and artless, and to be justified in the consciousness of the history of children and poets of all kinds. If in life the only reality is the sense of life, then in art the only reality is the consciousness of art.

Dr Vivi Vasilopoulou

Archaeologist Art Critic