Comedy has always found a way to disarm and surreptitiously subjugate those demonic forces, which most threaten us. Part kink and part jest, Kavallieratos’s sculptures and drawings are loaded with a biting black humor that unabashedly mocks political correctness and the austerity of the art establishment. Played out through his characters Quixoic journeys across pop-historical landscapes, Kavallieratos offers us wry comments on masculinity, violence and sexuality. His visual language speaks to us with the vocabulary of innocent comic entertainment; a didactic style deeply ingrained in our childhood memories of Saturday morning cartoons and grade school pranks. There is indeed a naughty sense of personal gratification to be found not only in the title of this show but also in the content of these works. Though exaggerated nihilism or angsty self-deprecating humor the works of Kavallieratos offer us a plucky escape from the life’s sticky situations. They have an otherworldly power to lift us out of every day life and into a neo-pop universe where even the devil deserves a little sympathy.
“I’ve always thought the illustrations for Dante Allighieri’s Divina Comedia (by Gustave Dore) where very strong, the silhouettes of Dante and Virgilio walking around and observing the things that take place in hell, purgatory, and heaven. I’ve replaced Virgilio with Pellelo di Kavla (a hero of my own creation) and use these two figures to wittness and naratte my anecdotes, scenarios, and jokes. Its a cocktail of history, mythology, good, evil, victory, defeat, torment, and pleasure” -Dionisis Kavallieratos
The sultry gazes and potent swagger of Iris Van Dongen’s brooding temptresses beguile us with a style that combines the elegance of pre-raphealite painting with the stern glamour of film noir heroines. Wrapped in luxurious dresses that float on smoky clouds or emerge from dark forests, these mysterious ladies recall both in form and in style the allegorical heroines of symbolist painting. Don’t be mistaken though these femme fatales, depicted in richly hued pastel on paper, are as powerful as the dark forces that seek to torment them. Like the siren or sphinx of romantic convention, these works are allusions to that age-old riddle; the demons that torment us most cruelly are often those that lurk with in our own desires.
Thou who abruptly as a knife
Didst come into my heart;
Thou who, like a demon horde
Didst enter, into my life, wildly dancing
Through the unhinged doorways of my sense
To make my spirit thy domain
Harlot to whom I am attached
As convicts to the ball and chain
— Charles Baudelaire “les fleurs du mal”