Charles van Otterdijk
The new work of Polys Peslikas studies on variation / MALEREI at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, is a series of large-and-small scale oil paintings based on a variegated study of one constructed image: a face-less, male figure with a turban.
Despite the unmistakable concreteness of the image depicted in each of the seven paintings of the exhibition, the paintings seem to dissolve into abstraction as the gaze of the viewer is continuously drawn into the lavish and expansive lines and folds of the fabric itself – endlessly unfolding into shapes, colours and patterns, in a manner suggesting a kaleidoscope. In the studies on variation / MALEREI the viewer becomes increasingly aware of the seductive complexity of the painted head-dress as this becomes reminiscent of the lavishness of a stage drapery projecting onto an empty theatrical stage ad infinitum. In the absence of a returned gaze, gazing moves to center stage.
With his latest work Polys Peslikas returns to a recurrent theme in his work, that of »representation«. Through a body of work rooted in »figurative« painting he turns the seductive power of representation onto itself by re-painting constructed images and objects that have fascinated the West, and in particular European painting for centuries.