Marie Deparis-Yafil wrote:(under the videos)
Press release EN: “Paradise Now! Tales of Modernity” BABIS PILARINOS
From 6 to 18 March 2012, the Gallery 59Rivoli presents, in the heart of Paris, the Greek artist Babis Pilarinos.
“Paradise Now!”: the title of the exhibition, chosen several months ago, takes on particular dimensions today, as we can no longer ignore the significance of the financial and political collapse of Greece, that marked the beginning of a grave crisis all over Europe. So, an appeal to the heavens, here and now? This title, that sounds like a command, could well be transformed into a political demand, an imperative, an urgency to still believe or to still want to believe…
Seen from here, we have only few testimonies of the Greek way of life, the Greek everyday life, the unknown situation the country is in. Babis Pilarinos is not one of those artists living in a privileged sphere; he lives in Athens, at the heart of this world in crisis, and his sensibility as an artist makes him a man of his time. How does a Greek artist react to this moment, this necessary quest for another, different world? His work, in its simplicity and its delicacy, may unveil itself less as a form of naivety than a dose of irony, as the pictorial language of Babis Pilarinos, so personal, oscillates between Naïve art and Byzantine painting. Spending a great deal of his time covering the walls of Greek Orthodox churches with his icons, he is undoubtedly strongly inspired, both in the way he treats his subjects and in his technique, by the Byzantine pictorial tradition. Is there a paradox in painting icons and in being a contemporary artist at the same time? Not here, and not for Babis Pilarinos, who rightly asserts that nothing can ever be absolutely new. Painting influenced by the Byzantine art is for him a language in which he can express his contemporary concerns, hence this “mismatch” between this painting, once classic in its making, and, as we would say here, “naive”, and the subjects treated, so much as the contents of his painting.
The narrative painting of Babis Pilarinos turns decisively to the world of childhood, his own childhood, spent on the Ionian islands, or the childhood he relives today through his own children. With the recurring themes of love, death, friendship, communication and communion, as well as of the community, his work is destined as a “celebration of life”, and his joyful “naivety”, his interest in childhood renders it not so much an escape but a weapon, a battle, against a certain violence in modern society and the disillusioned image of a “paradise lost”.
Born in 1967 on the island of Zakynthos, Greece, Babis Pilarinos began his painting career in 1993, following his studies in physics in Patra and photography in Athens. His highly personal pictorial language, appealing both to childhood memories and to the myth, has nevertheless its roots in the Naïve art and the Byzantine icons. His works are regularly exhibited in Greece, particularly in Athens, where he lives and works, in his atelier close to the Acropolis. Besides, he works on hagiographies in Orthodox churches applying the Byzantine technique (St. Stefanos in Metamorphosi, Athens, Church of the Archangels and St. Nickolas in Ioannina), which he also uses in his personal work.
Alongside the exhibition, he is working on a bilingual book project with fairy tales published in French and Greek, born by the encounter of the painter with the author Kristell Van Hove. Simple but full of enthusiasm, the “Contes Modernes” (Modern Tales) written by Kristell Van Hove and illustrated by Babis Pilarinos, prefaced by Marie Deparis-Yafil, “follow the trails of Greece of the past and the present, the one we have lived, felt and thought of, the one we have been told of, dreamed of, translated” (*Kristell Van Hove, 2011).
“Paradise Now! Tale of modernity” – Babis Pilarinos 59Rivoli – 59 rue de Rivoli, Paris 1er
Exhibition: March 6 to 18, 2012
Official reception: Wednesday, March 7 from 18:00
Special concert by the duo “Emelia”: Saturday, March 10 at 18:00
With the occasion of his exhibition at 59 Rivoli, Babis Pilarinos invites you to discover the Greek musical patrimony with the duo “Emelia”, guitar and mandolin, formed by Dorren Laskaridou and Maria Papadi. Traditional music pieces revisited in a contemporary way (K. Tzortzinakis and D. Fabas), works by the composer A. Kounadis, a mixture of byzantine, western and eastern influences, typical of the interbellum as well as compositions by major composers of the second half of the 20th century, from Hatzidakis or Theodorakis to Spanos or Mavroudis, will be presented. A must-see poetic and musical journey!
January 2012, Marie Deparis-Yafil