April - May 2022,
Zoumboulakis Galleries, Athens, Greece
I visited Japan in the winter of 2019, a few weeks before the outburst of the pandemic. What I had already been imagining about that place and what I learned in those ten days, November 22 to December 2, in Tokyo, in Nara and in Kyoto, is what I portray in this exhibition. In my painting, the ghosts of Japanese mythology become one with the ghosts in my mind. Personal stories, moments of inner struggle, and a constant excited curiosity prevail. I feel that I become, for a while, part of a riveting culture, and I try to share this chaos with someone who is not there. I am on my own, faced with millions of new stimuli, almost as many as the aerial cables of Tokyo and the sushi/kami in my paintings. I focus on the reasons that brought me to Japan, and I embark on a long, intense, but brief inner journey, in deafening noise and in total silence, which could be actually condensed to just one day: that walk to Nara from the hotel and the morning coffee on the way to the pagoda we had found closed the afternoon before, through the park with the deer, the tree trunks, the first temple, the spider, the forest, the crows, the first tree, the second tree, the second temple, the imposing brass Buddha and the pagoda which, again, closed down as soon as we arrived, evening already. In that long walk, strolling through the two devotional complexes, I thought of the harmonious coexistence around us of Shinto and Buddhism, shaped by their idiosyncrasies, the norms and the forms of the temples with their sharply contrasting characters; just like two people. Even now, I find this similitude between temples and people intriguing. I could be any one of those two temples.
STEFANOS ROKOS · ATHENS · DECEMBER 2021