Dream and Conflict in the Work of Andreas Nicolaou

Maria C. Paphiti

In the work of Andreas Nicolaou man in space takes pride of place. The man presented is not just a figure of everyday life and routine or a reflection of his creations within natural space. The man presented is found in his super-physical dimension, in an undefined space though this may not be the initial reaction of the communication between the viewer and the picture.

The well-drawn figure seems to have material volume coming from models of classical and erotic beauty. Space is defined by empty frames, chairs and other tools of the artist, and it seems to be real. Yet these views are nothing but points of departure from what is described as concrete and the artist offers it to the viewer in the form of codes and tools which, if the viewer follows them, will be led by the pictured protagonists to their fantasy journeys, to inner worlds shaped into the stage of personal existential transgression.

Upon entering the stage at which logic stops and the subconscious self rules, the viewer feels that what is happening goes beyond the frontiers of what he sees. The postures of the figures are not static and only of a bodily nature. They are feelings coming from within. The faces go into hiding so as not to see or be seen. Fear, anxiety and insecurity do not allow them to make their appearance and face all that surrounds them: situations, things and people.

Bodies stretch, harden and become arrows and shields in their attempt to protect themselves. Often, and because in reality the struggle is with his own self, man is not in a position to compromise or balance his needs and emotions. His inner world, then - phobias, guilt, sensitivities and questions - come into the open and, taking the same shape as that of the protagonist, they subdue, humiliate and threaten him.

The works of Andreas Nicolaou, with their seemingly depictive art, originate in psychological stimulations, just as happens with modern man, and they are directly related to questions of existential ethics. Space, indeed, reflects just this. It is vague, and unplaced, and it reveals the fragile and uncertain character of the nature of those that reside in it.

Maria C. Paphiti
Art Historian
Courtauld Institute of Art

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