Vistamare is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition by Polys Peslikas at the gallery in Pescara, after the artist’s solo show at Vistamarestudio in Milano in 2018.

The exhibition is comprised entirely of new paintings, all revolving around three recurring subjects: the back of sailors’ uniforms, maritime still lifes, and a solitary stool. Sparsely installed throughout the several rooms of the gallery, these paintings of various sizes compose together a silent dramaturgy of repetitions, changes and reappearances.

With this new body of works, Peslikas further explores and deepens a distinctive methodology that has been characterising his pictorial output for years: images often derived from photographic sources – pictures that the artist takes himself – are manipulated by means of cutting, cropping and collaging. A distant memory is so dissected and transformed, allowing specific formal qualities to slowly emerge. This pensive disposition towards images (or preferably fragments of them) is finally elaborated on the canvas, that soon becomes a palimpsest of layered forms. Strata of painting are overlapped, erased, and reworked, manifesting a notion of painting as a rumination on the act of painting itself.
Speaking of palimpsest in this case is not an intellectual affectation: a palimpsest is a manuscript that bears traces of its initial form while still revealing successive changes and edits; a visual manifestation of the author’s intentions through time, a document of how his vision is slowly formed via a process of alterations, incidents, and discoveries.

Polys Peslikas’ paintings are sites of instability and transformation: one image morphs into another, meanings are plural and forms are open. Looking at the sailors one may associate them with the cliché of a homoerotic fantasy fed by fiction, only to later discovery that the body is not even there anymore, and that the uniform has become an almost tactile, still abstract motif. Maritime still lifes holds the memory of a noble painting tradition but they can easily precipitate into the realm of nostalgia, like cheap coastal souvenirs. Look closer and you may start wondering if those corals are limbs. Polys Peslikas confronts this iconic domain and turns it into an obsessive kaleidoscope of memories, a mercurial deposit of distant fragments. Moreover, he extracts from an image a peculiar formal quality and enables it to emerge almost spontaneously, like a living organism. Throughout this process, repetition gives life to a repertoire of gestures: some of them are abrasive, some are fast and almost forceful, others seem a gentle caress, like courting an almost forgotten detail of a past life.

In their elaborate appearance, these paintings retain simple, uncomplicated truths: sometimes a personal memory remains vivid for years, sometimes it is sitting there and gets triggered by an insignificant detail. Sometimes it seems irrelevant and becomes almost a form of decoration within the wider picture of our own biography, other times it suddenly turns into an epiphany and haunts our days, expending its elusive meaning behind our comprehension. It’s simply there and claims its part in our fragmented, always changing, understanding of time.

Polys Peslikas (b. 1973, Limassol CY) is a painter living and working in London.
In 2015/16 he was an artist in residence at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin. Among other places, he has presented his work at Villa Medici (Rome), NiMAC (Nicosia), Halle 14 (Leipzig) and at the Prague Biennial II.
In 2017, he represented Cyprus at the 57th Venice Biennale.