The creation of the Lovers, the Acrobats and the Dancers began in 1998-99. First came the Lovers. By the end of 1999, the figures in these “erotic” works looked like acrobats. During that period, I was teaching in a school in Pafos, the Art room of which was a humid space, far away from the main building and the main entrance to the school. To get into the school, I preferred to jump over the fence on Venizelou Street. I created in my mind a setting with an acrobat as the protagonist, which I connected to my own jump over the fence, and I began to elaborate on the concept of the acrobat: what does it mean? Does it imply the challenge of danger, of the grave risk of falling off the tight rope? Is it an allegory of the artist’s desire to escape from a conservative and aesthetically miserable environment? Or is it, after all, symbolic of his effort to balance opposite factors, in order to secure his physical and spiritual survival?
Parallel to the above process, drawings and paintings were produced – not necessarily in this order and with such ease. Before a painting is finished, it often undergoes countless changes. I also make preliminary studies, in order to get a better grasp of the subject and to find solutions to aesthetic problems. I consider many of these sketches to possess “autonomy” in their own right. The first drawings of “acrobats” were created on February 3, 1999. Since then, I have made hundreds more (mostly in ink): lovers, acrobats, dancers, travelers.
My work – the paintings, as well as the Praxeis (“actions” and installations) – in which the human figure is the central element, derives, I think, from the same internal need. The artist cannot change society on his own, even if he is into political activism. The best thing he can do is to create his work, and to be aware of his limits. But which limits? After all, the artist is constantly obliged to question the established limits. He is obliged to take risks and to embrace the tension of a fragile balance, in order to safeguard his dignity and freedom.
Rinos Stefani, April 2008