“Notions of competition accompany this fetishization of the hero.” - the artist
My work conveys a grandiose narrative that operates analogously to ancient legends. The focus on heroism provides an entry point to the cult of masculinity. The hero is the perfect example of humanity in terms of both strength and beauty. Echoing these classic forms, my work highlights the impossibility of obtaining this otherworldly level of perfection. Notions of competition accompany this fetishization of the hero.
It is visually emphasized through grid and square structures- allusions to game boards, checkered flags, and pixels. This evokes associations with the early days of computer imagery. Strangely flat yet slightly three-dimensional graphics reference the onset of the digital age; this arouses persistent and intoxicating feelings of nostalgia.
Through these images I construct portals to a mythical dimension. They are not necessarily accessible to the viewer, but serve as evidence of an idyllic paradise. The squares and lines deliberately eliminate parts of the landscape as if a visual representation of an unclear memory. Color gradients act as surrogates for tropical settings, sunsets, and seascapes. They serve as postcards from an archaic journey that may or may not have been experienced.
The core of my conceptual practice concerns itself with notions of intimacy. Longing and desire are among the most common tropes illustrated in ancient mythology. Each work serves as a visual manifestation of an imprisoning emotional state, ending in either triumph or pain. The powerful, godly bodies are depicted in a way to reveal their more vulnerable, melancholic and human side. The paintings dismantle our society’s disaffinity towards male intimacy and celebrate a tender masculinity.
A crucial element of this narrative is the focus on melodrama. Mass consumption of drama, from ancient tragedies to modern pop music is a fundamental aspect of cultural experience. Times may change but humanity will consistently face the same trials and tribulations. I navigate these various systems and social structures in order to tell queer, often untold, stories.
About the artist:
Paul Anagnostopoulos is an artist working in a variety of media, primarily drawing and painting. He was born 1991 in Long Island, NY and works in NY, NY. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from New York University in 2013 with a BFA concentrating in Drawing and Printmaking. He interned at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice during the 2013 Biennale and gave lectures and private tours, during which he became a guest contributor for The Boulevardiers. During 2014, Paul was a resident and exhibiting artist of the Rancho Paradiso Residency in Joshua Tree, CA and the Akumal International Artist Residency in Mexico. During 2015, he began as Marlborough Chelsea's archivist, curated several pop-up exhibitions in Huntington, NY, and completed the Copy Shop Residency at Endless Editions in NY. In 2016, Paul was an exhibiting artist in residence at the SÍM Residency in Reykjavík, Iceland; the Wassaic Project in Hudson Valley, NY; AIAR in Guanajuato, Mexico; the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont; Brooklyn Art Space & Trestle Gallery in Brooklyn, NY. In 2017, he completed a residency at the Hafnarborg Museum in Iceland. His first solo exhibition, Holding Out For A Hero, was presented in 2018 at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading, PA. That same year he worked for the artist Sean Scully and completed the Maple Terrace Residency Program in Brooklyn, NY. Paul’s upcoming solo exhibition will take place in January 2020 at the Leslie-Lohman Project Space in NY, NY.
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