A few words about tapestry and his work of Stathis Katsarelis by Aggela Tambaki

Weaving is one of the oldest forms of human art and its early appearance is purely associated with practical reasons. Nevertheless decorative weaving, which includes both wall tapestries and smaller works destined for interior decoration, has different origins and a different destination. The most representative themes that were used on large scale tapestry have a monumental character and obvious analogies with similar paintings in different s time periods and different regions of the world. Typical of the art of tapestry is its close relationship to painting. But outside decorative weaving in its monumental form that is directly related to the guidelines of the "formal" art and the tastes of certain social classes, folk weaving had a remarkable boom in many European countries, especially those of the Balkan Peninsula and the Mediterranean,. In Greece folk weaving is characterized by distinctive colors and patterns with an impressive variety. Recollections from Ancient Greece and the Byzantine Empire as well as influences from the East and the West intersect at the repertoire of worthy anonymous representatives of the art, more often in the form of natural and decorative motifs and with the rarer occurrences of figures, such as birds and horsemen.

In recent decades along with some efforts to continuate the traditional folk weaving and quite debatable "revivals" and attempts of modernization under the influence of tourism, there are some artists who deal with tapestry in the context of their modern artistic pursuits. The creations of Stathis Katsarelis fall exactly to that artistic space.
Having studied both the history of European tapestry and our own rich tradition of folk weaving, he selects the elements that reflect in the most fitting way the spirit of his artistic pursuits without overt influences. He works with the technique of classical tapestry in vertical loom, while inventing his own techniques, followed by his bold interventions to the process of natural dying. This process is based on the utilization of the potentials of natural colours which he had the chance to meet in his long, restless walkabouts in known and unknown places of our country. Without resorting to pretentious solutions, he creates fascinating images from the Greek nature in a very personal style. It is actually an attractive way of painting with yarn, where the chromatic scale richness does not exclude the presence of some geometric themes that surprise with their chromatic austerity and their morphic severity. His journeys sparked the creation of a remarkable figurative travelogue. The element of reality co-exists in harmony with the element of fantasy in his works. The reconstruction of the elements of reality is produced on the basis of knowledge and talent, while advancing resolutely towards the conquest of a personal style. The sense of measure removes the risk of resorting to the easy charm without excluding the use of the cosmetic character of the compositions. The artist thus succeeds to keep pace with the most novel pursuits, claiming his own space without adopting uncritically hasty solutions simply because his has to show that it he goes along with the spirit of the times.

Aggela Tambaki, Commissary of the National Art Gallery

Art from Nature
By Athina Sxina, Art Critic and Historian

To Stathis Katsarelis, before the approach of his figurative work, that he produces consequently and methodically, while penetrating the surface, we have to attribute the role of a tracer. It is not only his numerous works that are patiently and devotionally, created. In the figural result of each work which he realizes, he manages to incorporate, without displaying, all the procedural stages that precede and represent him as an undivided language of forming the composition.

The procedure starts for the artist with a series of walks in nature, all the seasons and in different regions. In these walks he collects leaves, flowers, fruits, branches and barks of trees, branches from bushes, and roots of plants, making his own botanologie. In parallel he chooses the wool, the silk, the linen etc. Afterwards, he experiments with a large scale of dyes, handling with ease combinations and particularities that are exported from his various experimentations. After the stabilization of his colors, he starts the weaving; some times using drawing that he has prepared and other times directly, handling the threads upon the abb and the warp of the vertical looms that he has created.

Stathis Katsarelis, is not only a painter who adopts and continues a popular tradition. He is a painter who has exchanged paintbrushes and chemical colors with threads and their natural inalterable nuances, achieving through his weavings, fine chromatic tonalities not altered by time or light.

His painting canvas is his weaving and its numerous varieties and combinations. He works according to the vertical and horizontal dimension, without being bind to the constructive hierarchy, which we could rather say liberates him expressively, as it gives him the opportunity to simultaneously follow and distance himself from models. He draws all the elements that are essential for his work both from popular tradition as well as the European painting, weaving and miniature art, which renewed and incorporated are newly combined, figuring his own personal artistic language.

Mountains, seas, dawns and sunsets meet in the compositions of Stathis Katsarelis cities by the sea, birds walking around in areas cultivated by dreams, while creating itineraries of clouds in his own fairy tale land. It is there where his flowers suddenly blossom, his cities pop out, branches and leaves grow, among few human figures that appear as personae of a small drama, from which grow hopes and desires, dips in the collective subconscious which is constantly transformed from the successive impressions which are caused by the stimuli of life.

Athina Sxina, Critic and Historian of Art.  


Video Stathis Katsarelis