Catsipanos’ Anthropomorphism Turning Zoomorphic

"I am an insect that dreamt it was human"
Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) in David Cronenberg's "The Fly"

In his recent show Theophilos Catsipanos, diffusedly, casts aside the gloomy, 'gothic' character coming out of his former work and spins off into cartoonish realms. In his frames, the depiction of the human form, intensely realistic, albeit distorted in proportion, had prevailed, abundantly. Yet, presently, the human figure, still present, is represented along human-like, animal creatures: rather, anthropomorphic shapes; zoomorphic humans; (?) The images seem to split into two, on two levels. Reality, as it were, and dream world --wherein the artist's imagination seems beyond restraint-- in coexistence.

Human longing to animate objects or to give them human attributes such as voice, legs, mouth, hands, clothing etc, is quite untreaceable. Still, Aesop's fables would most probably be among the first historical attempts to "endow (humanlike) soul" to animals, by bestowing them the gift of thought and speech --implementing them as metaphors for instructive purposes (intended for humanity). Then we would have La Fontaine's "Mythes". Further still, surrealist precursors; like Lewis Carroll, readily presenting anthropomorphic features onto objects as plain as playing cards, retaining within the entire description merely the discipline characterizing the actual fabrication of the pack itself as a metaphor for the ordered plurality and insignificance of the military.

Should one discern any affinity among Catsipanos' anthropomorphic methods to those of Carroll's, it becomes all the more transparent in the case of the --invisible-- Cheshire-Cat.
The second dimension in this recent work, also --peculiarly-- touching upon "Alice in Wonderland " (or, even more so, upon its follow up, "Through the Looking Glass") is the distortion of the geometrical space, the shrinking and blowing up of rooms, the contraction of furniture, (themselves haphazardly turning zoomorphic as well) the mutation of the spatial role of Catsipanos' own "Alice". Indeed, she is constantly present, a girl/woman much like Carroll's protagonist, who seems to be the keeper of the keys among the two universes. And when the space around the shapes is not architectural/geometrical, it is conjured in occult shreds of obscure forests.
Then, there come the wee cartoonish creatures that, as mentioned, start up an entirely new page in the progress of the artist's work: scores of them, fawns to puppies to anthropomorphic amoebae (?) up to definitely unidentifiable animal forms. The forms/animals materialize transcending common spatial arrangement: growing out of the walls, hovering in the ambient air, tumbling, almost invisible.

Catsipanos' paintwork has always been characterized by vivid mystery and eerie sense. Today, inoculating it with a keen pop element instead of dragging it into some readily apprehensible normality, he sets it off inside unfathomed terrains of the bizarre.

Thanassis Moutsopoulos