oil on canvas 60×80 cm, 2022
artwork selected by International Committee to participate at XIV Florence Biennale 2023
Theories of the Self have been contemplated and voiced through the ages by philosophers, anthropologists, sociologists, and artists of all kinds who have all been trying to capture facets of this complex, nuanced and yet so subtle character of the Self.
Who am I? or Who are you? seem to be such trivial questions. We ask and answer these questions with such ease and candour, somehow completely overlooking the fact that they are so profoundly immersed in the daily routine that they might escape our reasoning and conscious awareness.
From a philosophical perspective, the encounter with the Other – an Other that is different from one’s own Self, a separate, unattached individual Self but, nonetheless, an alter-ego, a reflection of one’s own Self – becomes the only and most authentic journey to Self-discovery. Also, it lies at the very heart of humankind’s search for identity. Furthermore, modern philosophy emphasizes the idea that if the world really exists, it is precisely because we are all interconnected. A-world-for-my-Self-only, a reality inhabited by one self-sufficient entity would be a complete nonsense. One’s own Self is hence carved and mediated by the ubiquitous presence of the Other. We are, after all, defined through and by the presence of the Other. When one looks outwards, at another, one might seem to perceive the world through his/ her own self-gratifying lenses, yet this gaze is always reflected back, adding an extra layer of hue to the initial representation. Ultimately, such an encounter becomes a mysterium tremendum, a vibrant and resonant negotiation, an incumbent tool which enables us to rethink and redefine our Selves as One. Therefore, the only panoptical way to answer our initial question is I am You.
The painting uses a triangular composition (the girl – the old man – the Jack/ the Bower), displaying the masculine- feminine synergy in a timeless urban landscape.
Red stands for the feminine, the bodily lust, while blue stands for the masculine, and Mars for the warrior. The red-blue hues blend toghether into a mystifying chromatic symphony under the metaphysical light.
The young man points towards the old man emphasizing hereby the I am You interconnectedness. The girl, the central figure of the composition, mediates the I am You connection with both the young and the old age, a complementary relationship, taken beyond humanity. The old man – robot metamorphosis seems to herald a different world, one that is dominated by robots, by the artificial intelligence, a world that needs to redefine this new facet of the I am You relationship.
And thus, a whole new range of emotions emerge: the optimistic anguish of hope, the sense of helplessness facing an uncertain future, the anxiety of this new I am You relationship.
The tale, however, has a happy ending – the eye of the old man reflects the image of the girl and, hereby, it reflects love itself.
This is the very hope that love does not die out, not even beyond our material world. I am You is the very definition of love, the love for the one you identify yourself with.
The sweets in the central position of the painting stand for the people themselves and the sole is an energetical imprint, a gate between two worlds.
It is the I am You sole.