CM: Admiring the feat of Laf cadio Hearn, a man of Greek origin who was brought up in Europe, made a career in America and was distinguished in Japan, Vassilis Solidakis painted an unprecedented landscape in his honor. He used the flags of Greece and Japan as symbols that - beyond their national significance - were selected so as to represent broadly the West and the East as complimentary cultures.
The Greek flag seems to enshroud a crate, while above it presides in the background the Japanese flag, whose inner circle reveals Lafcadio's face. The sphere in particular as a compositional element has its roots in Solidakis' abstract period, where it converses with various other elements. Such a dialogue expresses Solidakis' remark that "we are but a thought on a sphere in space", that is magical phenomenon without explanation. Herewith the crate refers to the ark of Western civilization that keeps inside it the achievements of science and dialectical materialism. Accordingly the sphere refers to the rising sun of the East, as a source of energy that gives life, as a secular celestial body that is adored in religion, and as a perfect shape of the universe that is celebrated in art.
Solidakis combines the two flags in such a way as to form a landscape. The folds of the Greek flag give the mountainous texture of waves of the sea, above which rises the sun of the Japanese flag. The blue and white color of the Greek flag, which expresses a feel of the Greek country - sea against the sky -, comes to harmony with the red color of the rising sun of Japan. Solidakis chose to form onto the sun Lafacadio's most pensive portrait after a well-known photograph taken in Philadelphia in 1889. The inclination of his head evokes a reflection of deep thinking. The red circle seems to embraces this delicate moment. The picture describes eloquently the fact that owing to his Greek roots and the western education Lafcadio dedicated himself to Japanese culture and was deified for this reason. Inspired by Lafcadio's example, Solidakis bridged the two nations, showing how two such differing cultures complement one another in the form of one landscape.
[Megakles Rogakos 07/2009]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn 2009 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens