If we choose to judge the value of a work of art in terms of pleasure, of the playful interaction with the spectator, the psychic and mental enjoyment of art as explained by the Kantian term of “disinterestedness”, then the exhibition hosted at Benaki Museum of Piraeus Str in memory of the prematurely lost artist Christos Petrides constitutes a stunning example of the entertaining and liberating powers of art and the fantastic worlds that only art could establish.
The merit of Petrides’ art is exactly this playful and liberating feeling his works emanate. Inside the pictures emerges a personal, but readily assimilated by everyone, world, which provokes a blissful sentiment to the spectator, projecting him to a space that transcends reality.
Yet this ontogenesis, the creation of new chains of meanings, this new material of images, is rapidly accepted as the instauration of imagination and child-game action, cast aside in the everyday experience by the compelling social behaviour.
In fact, the works of Petrides, full of game-like displacements of forms and perspectives, these worlds inhabited by animals and toy-like objects (even when he paints the Absolute vodka bottle, or the Lacoste crocodile, or a tanker), the multicolour surfaces, covered by a pointillisme that magnifies the illusionary dimension of the theme.
Even the simplicity of the forms, and its incompleteness, reenact the child’s experience by implying the object by its schema, as in Kant’s “schematism” and thus multiplying the possibilities of its meanings, since the mere scheme could be afterwards deployed in multifarious other forms. The bright colours and the repeating, ludic, pictorial patterns, such as an encoding of figures, constitute a perpetuated story-telling game, since these work as the codes of a “functional assimilation” in the game, the mental elements which must be familiarized with in order to be repeated in the process.
Petrides’ worlds are alluring to the end. Their force springs from the successful interaction they achieve between the personal vision of the artist and the personal views of the spectators, a perfect conjugation of their imaginations on a common ground, in their fantasies and in the ever-lasting yearning of the humans for playing, that although is subdued with age by the social constrains, nonetheless is never absolutely quenched or dried.