Black Frames

by Jannis Varelas

March 9-September 5, 2017

Black Frames, detail, 2017, by Jannis Varelas, mixed media on canvas

And if the soul is ever to know herself, must she not look at the soul?

                                 - Plato, Alcibiades

This diptych, which premiered March 9, 2017, was inspired by a line from Plato’s Alcibiades, which George Seferis quotes in his poem Argonauts (1935). The work explores the complex relationship between self-knowledge and identity within the context of social restrictions and impositions, and the emotional conflicts that can arise between a sense of self and one’s role in society. The work combines abstract and realistic elements to depict the emotional disruption and fission between the personal and the social, the idiosyncratic and the communal. 

Jannis Varelas lives and works in Athens, Vienna, and Los Angeles. He received an MFA from the Royal College of Art in London and a BA from the Athens School of Fine Arts. Selected solo shows include The Breeder, Athens (upcoming, June 2017); New Flags for a New Country/Destroying Elvis, Onassis Cultural Center, Athens (2016); New Flags for a New Country, The Breeder, Athens (2015); Sleep My Little Sheep Sleep, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, curated by Xenia Kalpaktsoglou (2012); The Oblong Box, Kunsthalle Athena, Athens, curated by Marina Fokidis in collaboration with Jannis Varelas (2011); Brandybell Series, Autocenter, Berlin (2010); Blue Soldier/Opera Costumes, The Breeder, Athens (2009). Varelas is represented by The Breeder,

Black Frames was specially commissioned by the Onassis Cultural Center New York in conjunction with the exhibition A World of Emotions: Ancient Greece, 700 BC – 200 AD. It will remain on view through September 5, 2017.

Exhibition Images