CM: When the College presented a photograph of the Greek-born Japanese poet Lafcadia Hearn to Kostas Paniaras, he automatically identified with him. "He was a man faced with the challenge to survive the era of the Samurai. He was alone there and that is why he looks so intense." As known Lafcadio was an amalgam of Anglo-Saxon father and a Greek mother. In contrast to apathy Lafcadio combined Anglo-Saxon creativity with Greek genius. Paniaras represented Lafcadio younger than shown on his photograph at an advanced age. In this painting he sought to reproduce the acidity of his spirit and the exotic feel of Japan. He painted the portrait as an ideogram, the script of a language that makes sense through emotion rather than by logic. The composition is dominated by the red color that is quick, dramatic and primitive. Paniaras imagines the world in the process of creation in this red color, which is the prerogative Hokusai, Utamaro and the Japanese flag. Such a red is backed by the black color of writing. He also gave particular emphasis to the eye, which served as communication channel. In exceptional cases of people, like Lafcadio, when one sense is reduced it multiplies another. Under the influence of the 'All Seeing Eye', as it dominates the center of an isosceles triangle, Paniaras focused on Lafcadio's one eye, which - overcoming its nature - saw things beyond human vision. Thus, he rendered the obsolete eye as a funnel which sucks the world and throws it up out of the other functional eye. This monocularity is captivating and enchanting. As in some respects all artworks are potentially self-portraits, Lafcadio emerged as ectoplasm, like the ghost "that is I". Paniaras would like to do what Lafcadio did. "He really made a move, whereas I kind of moved to Paris". At the time he was born in Greece, had he stayed he would go unnoticed. Paniaras wanted the portrait of Lafcadio to be an extract of himself. The work materialized quickly in order to remain faithful to what he envisioned for him. When Self Hearn was fulfilled, Paniaras signed it with his name in Greek and transcribed it vocally above in Japanese .
[Megakles Rogakos 05/2009]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn 2009 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens