CM: The researcher of the history of Lafcadio Hearn may be impressed that within 14 years - apart from creating a family - he expressed the soul Japan in the Japanese language. This was enough evidence for Konstantinos Bobos that Lafcadio was a visionary and original creator. Out of interest for his personality, Bobos read writings of his, and thus he arrived at the tale of Oshidori (The Mallards). As the Japanese story goes, a hunter, returning to his village with disappointed for his failure in the hunt, saw at an adjacent lake a couple of Oshidori birds. Led by hunger and neglecting the national tradition, which advises against hunting of Oshidori as high jinx, the hunter killed the male bird , brought it home and cooked it. At night, however, in his dream approached him a beautiful woman accusing him of having committed a great evil by killing her husband, and - in so doing - of effectively killing her too, since she now cannot live without her partner, and that he cannot do anything about it. In closing she invited him - if in doubt - to come to the lake to witness it. The other day, influenced by his dreams and out of curiosity, he actually went to the lake and there he saw the female Oshidori turning towards him and looking at him fiercely. Then before his eyes she plunged her beak into her bossom and commited 'harakiri' (ritual suicide).
This traditional Japanese story, as told by Lafcadio, touched Bobos and inspired him to connect his references to art history, and to come into dialogue with other artworks. The tale of Oshidori brought to Bobos' mind the legendary 'action' of Joseph Beuys entitled How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare. On 26 November 1965 Beuys appeared before an audience with his face painted white, embracing onto himself a dead hare and whispering to it, in about the same attitude as Lafcadio is shown in the present work. In this case Bobos represents Lafcadio holding both Oshidori together - the one already dead and the other whose death is imminent. Bobos represented Lafcadio as narrator and protagonist 'within' his very own work. The invocation of Beuys gave Bobos the 'key' to propose a conceptual dimension of the painting and to present the Lafcadio hold in his arms his own story reincarnated as Oshidori. Bobos' incentive was the fact that Lafcadio embraced Buddhism and its faith in reincarnation and the sanctity of all forms of life.
Bobos was genuinely interested in using Japanese elements, yet at the same time reconstructing a history with reference to a parallel story. This work is not programmatic. First came the work's creation and then followed the description. Lafcadio is situated at home with its characteristic 'shoji' (Japanese windows), through which the garden may be seen. The picture was created from the perspective of Lafcadio's sole eye. This special viewpoint is responsible for the space's particular perception, which is a flat, yet poetic. From a morphological point of view, the three different scales of figure-architecture-garden provoke the realistic approach and enable the image's conceptual dimension. The palette of Bobos is simplified. The two-color scheme of pink and light green references a sense of female dimension. Besides, based on his unconventional position against the manly Japanese society, Lafcadio wrote sensitive stories in defence of the female gender. The choice of colors, which consolidates the figure with the architecture, clearly emphasizes the identification of Lafcadio with the Japanese spirit. In the manner that Bobos represents him, Lafcadio has become part of the space and will continue to explain his pictures to the Oshidori. .
[Megakles Rogakos 10/2009]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn 2009 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens