1991 ARCHETYPAL IMAGES
It is not difficult to be won over by the painting of Nikitas Flessas. It is much more difficult to conquer it yourself, to cross over, with the sensations first and then with the mind - when and where necessary - behind the surface phenomena which define its topics.
Nikitas Flessas' attention is attracted by the objects of everyday life which we are accustomed to associating with: ordinary, tangible, random things which the gaze soon passes by or consigns to the sidelines. He paints fruit bowls and flower vases, foliage and its rustling immobilised in time, the whispers and glints of pebbles on a beach, early transmuted bodies like the low flames of a silent hour.
The manner in which all these images are traced and extracted from the depths of the memory and the subconscious is transferred on to Nikitas Flessas' surfaces as an exercise in self-knowledge. His forms transfuse their 'chemical' vigour, the distillation of the experiences and sounds of the imagination, into the viewer's eye. The viewer receives them unexpectedly, rediscovers them and charges them with emotions of his own. And yet the paintings of Nikitas Flessas do not mobilise the emotions alone: they also initiate an intellectual process. Even the humblest of the things the artist sees and selects for expression refer us to the 'archetypal images' of a forgotten world, providing also the facility and the ability, through it, for reduction to the primordiality of sensations - sensations which emerge with lucidity and state with clarity all the scale of their nuances.
Nikitas Flessas uses the approach of the miniature to draw his forms. By way of contrast, the boldness of his colours and the sharp counterpoint it contains set up the conditions for a surrealistic leap: in some places his masses shrink, yet in most cases they grow larger, expanding with mental vibrancy the photogenic details of his 'images' and their apparently chance coincidences.
As one explores the works of Nikitas Flessas, one has the impression that he is being swept along by the subterranean undulations of an impeccable brushstroke which follows the gradations of the Byzantine style, suggesting a ceremonious dimension intensified by the stratification, the structure and the more general development of each composition.
The painting of Nikitas Flessas is a blend of many of the stages in moderm painting: the line and - above all - the colour, full of power, precision and dazzling intensity, glow with inner truth and profound culture. Over and above the question of dexterity, this quality alludes to the artist's unpretentious style and his moral stance towards the dilemmas of our age.
Whether one detects fauvist or expressionist influences in the almost formalistic realism of Nikitas Flessas, one thing is clear: that one is dealing with vigorous work of the highest quality, treated in a restrainedly confessional tone, whose lyricism is laconic but revelatory of riches beneath the surface.
These paintings are like rare minerals, which have to be seen in a special light to be picked out. Otherwise they remain in silence, like the bodies of the monumentalised traumas and transient miracles in a forgetfulness which, in our absence, heals all things ephemeral.