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05-04-2024 18:25

The Deputy Minister of Culture, Dr Vasiliki Kassianidou, addresses Andreas Karayan’s retrospective exhibition

Andreas Karayan has emerged as one of the most versatile and multi-talented figures of the artistic scene of our country. Graduating in Medicine from the University of Athens in 1967, he travelled to London to obtain his specialty. There, Karayan was fascinated by the cosmopolitan aura, the new artistic trends and the surrounding atmosphere of the late 60s. This led to his decision to leave Medicine to study Painting at the Central School of Art in Camberwell, London, and then printmaking in Stuttgart, Germany.

In 1978, Andreas Karayan presented his first solo exhibition at the "Hora" gallery in Athens. A year later, he exhibits at the “Zygos” gallery in Cyprus, marking the beginning of a brilliant artistic career both in Cyprus and abroad. Among his notable achievements, the representation of Cyprus at the Venice Biennale in 2001 with his work PERSONAE – the PERSONAE series was subsequently presented at the renowned Galleria Lia Rumma in Naples, Italy. His successful participation in the Cairo Biennale in 2006, in which the Cyprus Pavilion won first prize, also stands out. In 1995, the masterly illustrations of Cavafy's poems published in Berlin, together with his exhibition of works from the "KAVAFIS" series at the Galerie Am Savignyplatz, confirm the versatility of his talent.

In 2007, at the invitation of the Library of Alexandria, he lived in Alexandria where he created the wonderful series entitled "The Alexandrians", which was exhibited in the then newly built building of the city's Library.

It is also worth highlighting other elements of his multifarious creativity and talent, such as his contribution to the field of literature, his passion for music, but also the wonderful way he performs on the piano. Since 2004, in fact, Andreas Karayan has been writing his fictional autobiography, a quintet for which he was honoured with two State prizes for Fiction. Also important is his twenty-year journalistic presence with reviews, presentations of new artists and texts on human rights.

Andreas Karayan also stood out for his revolutionary mood, being one of the innovators and pioneers, introducing the representation of the male nude into the visual lexicon of Cypriot art. His pioneering move caused significant reactions in the then conservative society of Cyprus, contributing to the breaking of traditional perceptions and the revision of the artistic field in Cyprus, but at the same time, creating a public debate around art and freedom of expression.

During his career, he created an impressive and varied visual work which extends from his realist origins to freer formal expressions, elements that will also characterise his progression through video art. His representational figures of young men breathe an inner light –Byzantine light– or as that metaphysical with the mysterious smile of the Fayoum portraits, sometimes interspersed with lessons of romance, all elements harmonised through his particular, tidal touch. In a monumental way and an almost ancient dignity, love is praised, so that the experienced visual impulse and the full visibility of a world sometimes unknown to the viewer becomes unexpectedly lyrical, even in its most realistic manifestations.

The dense gestural interventions in Andrea's work, the use of colour, perspective, light and the inner gloom of his heroes reflect great painting traditions, capturing timeless artistic values as a credence to the intentionality of a solid painting idiom.

In his works, realistic performance is associated with metaphysical elevation, both in the space where the visual narrative takes place and in the way the human mind and body experience the presence of the other. The melancholy that runs through his forms intensifies the strong emotion that the viewer feels in front of his works.

With these few, I wish Andreas Karayan good success in his exhibition and also to continue this unique artistic journey. The support of artists is crucial for the development and evolution of our culture and as the Deputy Ministry of Culture, we stand by every effort that brings inspiration and new ideas to the world of art.