IL: ACG - Deree College, Arts & Sciences Department, Office #525 of Dr. Wayne Burke
CM: Lafcadio Hearn attracted Zacharias Arvanitis' attention as a bold man, who lived in a rather uncertain period for humanity. Negotiating the archival photograph of 1900, which presents Lafcadio as teacher of English literature at the Imperial University of Tokyo, Arvanitis magnified the portrait in the characteristic manner of his technique, producing by press multiple prints using masks. Herewith the portrait of Lafcadio combines two aspects - the right profile as known by his photographs, and at the back of his head the edge of his other profile that he took care to conceal in shame for the disability of his eye that was deformed by accident.
With his work Arvanitis presents the double nature of Lafcadio, who spent his life between East and West. Thus he made sure one side of hi s face to look towards the East and the other to the West. The right profile facing the East is illuminated by the sun, as the dawn comes, with all its glittering power. The face here presents the feeling of a sunny day that generously illuminates nature. In its whiteness the face turns shades of green that recall the plants against the all-white pebbles of Japanese gardens. The left profile that looks to the West is illuminated by the yellow color of sunset. The appearance of only the edge of the face and the concealment of all its other elements recalls the blindness of Lafcadio which facilitated his metaphysical insight of the world.
Arvanitis was inspired the symbolism of colors from the reality of both Lafcadio and nature. The East is characterized by the glare on the whitening at the start of the day, just like his open mind. The West is characterized by the warm tones in the setting of the day, which forebodes the night, the closing - sort of saying - of his life. The two conditions of the day are depicted against the dark blue background, which is the color of the universe, where everything merges. The final visual artistic impression of the work resulted randomly, as Arvanitis took care to organize by means of his successive prints.
[Megakles Rogakos 12/2009]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn 2009 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens