CHRISTOS GAROUFALIS / Pictorial Artist, Αrtistic Director of the Municipal Art Gallery of Agrinio

From light to darkness, from today to yesterday, from the commotion of life to the silence of absence. A course run two ways. Sometime ago they were teeming with life, and so? Today they stand there hermetically sealed, with their walls embracing history tightly… Christos Simatos invites us to take a journey into the past…. His goal isn’t to just freeze time, but to imprint the sensation of the moment preserving memory. The visible is just the pretext. Every click of his camera becomes the mark of the time and era he brings to life, images soaked with the sweat of so many people and their agony to get their everyday bread… It becomes a sunray that soars and vibrates yesterday, at the same time shining on the inner self of each and every one of us. The cracks of the wooden shutters become a passageway through which the cold light seductively traverses the warmth of space, embracing its silent order. It illuminates the marks of time on the weathered plasters and the wooden floors, resembling the interiors painted by Rembrandt and Vermeer, attaching new dimensions to them.

I have experienced the joy of the whole procedure of taking photographs, from the intense moment accompanying the discovery of the right place to that magical fraction of the second of creation…I can still feel the dust, the smell, I can hear the creaking sound of the wooden staircase in our every step as we were fumbling about in the darkness of space with Marianna, our presence stirring up slightly its lasting quiescence. I stood still, thought I was hearing whispers, voices, heartbeats, footsteps and then again silence…

The photographer stands aside, in the shade, discretely letting light come to him… His excellent workmanship does not drown the emotions, since whatever is depicted in the frame is equally important to what is meant outside of it. The more shadows are lit, the more the connection of space with our gaze is activated, attaching a new sensation to their converse with time… The immaterial and the material walk along together and disperse into the atmosphere… The empty Papastratos Tobacco Warehouses step out into the light and trigger the awakening of our collective memory.

Simatos faces them with respect, he approaches them as a pilgrim, granting them the appropriate space to narrate their stories, with the leading actors being present or absent. So to compose their final verse…