Vassilis Salpistis


Looking at the entirety of Vassillis Salpistis’ work, from landscape to genre painting, and despite the artist’s explicit preference for classic themes, we come to realize that his œuvre constitutes a treatise not just on the history of Western Civilization, but also on his own (or perhaps also our) stance towards it, regardless of whether any particular work depicts an enclosed, lush garden, wild beasts with their prey, or a family portrait. His paintings are not just technically demanding and extremely analytical depictions, but furthermore constitute attempts to approach history of painting, the anthropological view of nature and its relationship with human agents, acting as a topographic and existential analysis of a world that the painter is either inhabiting or observing from a distance.

The present paintings’ narrative by Salpistis is a path through Parisian indoor gardens, quarrymen paths and wild animal trails, encapsulated in his work depicting André Malraux, the famous French intellectual, anthropologist, writer, art critic, and former French Minister of Culture (1959-1968, under president De Gaulle), with his children. This image, based on a photograph the painter discovered in a 1960s issue of Paris Match magazine, is a treatise on the perspective and meaning of our viewpoint of the Other, an ethnographic reflection of the “Western Gaze” on the world: Malraux, a researcher knowledgeable of the diversity and distinctness of cultures, is depicted with his three children posing with the Kachina figures of their collection (items that are sacred to the native American Hopi tribe). All of them are focusing on the cultural objects of an exotic culture, set against the incongruous urban context of 1960s Paris.

With Salpistis’ paintings narrative, we return to archetypal questions, both artistic and philosophical, realizing that our perspective of nature and the world can define the meaning we attribute to the things we perceive through our eyes. Besides, any viewpoint can be, and ultimately is, a matter of choice and decision, as well as the starting point of every research endeavor.

And the standpoint of Vassilis Salpistis, either in his capacity of a Greek who became a French citizen or in that of a painter who revisits the history of painting, the way in which he “crops” the landscapes, he depicts and defines his every artistic decision, constitute the essence of his historical and political view of the Other.

Areti Leopoulou

12|10|2019 - 16|02|2020
Tue-Wed-Fri-Sat-Sun 10:00-18:00, Thu 10:00-22:00 Monday closed
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Funding Authority

ΕΣΠΑ 2014-2020

Organising Institution