NIKOS VATOPOULOS / Kathimerini, Tuesday, March 6th 2012

 

The photographic compositions of Chris Simatos describe the pathways of life through a series of shell- arks

Christos Simatos’ photographic compositions are actually optical narratives. They are deployed over large surfaces, dipped into sepia and pomegranate as well as black-and-white, as if they have been immersed and drawn out of red clay, covering the big white walls of the Athens Art Gallery. Facing these gigantic digital printouts, I was overwhelmed by surges of curiosity and nostalgia, imposing a reciprocation in time, both historical and experiential.

Christos Simatos joins us again, with this exhibition, not only as an archeologist of memory, but as a pioneer explorer of our universal concept of time. He crushes and reunites shards of past life cycles, through the ruins of old residences ,the shadows of which disappear gradually into the past. Examining the work of Christos Simatos, you find yourself hovering in a crack of time. He overlooks the romantic atmosphere of the ruins, once he realizes that these optical deployments do not caress the house debris, rather than unlock existential and fundamental questions. This is why, Christos Simatos’ compositions are gradually transformed into painful reliefs of the spiral road to perdition. Faces of the long departed are retrieved from old photographs and family albums and are placed in a vantage point as alters, crowned heroes over ruined arches that gaze the sky. Generations are brought together. Figures of the 1900s, with white foot-long gowns, co-exist with forms of 1965. Similarly, people of the countryside breath next to urban families. Christos Simatos enriches his work with an important comment on time, the impermanence of the cosmos and immortality, with no attempt of embellishment.