Artist Giorgos Taxidis Talks to TNH about His First Solo Exhibition

Artist Giorgos Taxidis with one of his fantastic works, Reference to Rembrandt, pencil and charcoal on paper 150x100 cm, 2017. Photo by Giorgos Papadopoulos

NEW YORK – The gifted artist Giorgos Taxidis is preparing for his first solo exhibition at the Consulate General of Greece in New York entitled apóllūmai which is on view March 19-April 4 with the opening reception on Friday, March 22. His work is also featured on the labels of fine wines by Chateau Nico Lazaridis. Taxidis spoke to The National Herald about the upcoming exhibition and about his life and work.

TNH: Did you always want to be an artist?

Giorgos Taxidis: As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a painter. Since I was a little child, all I wanted to do was to draw. Drawing has always been a means of communication and an internal need of vital importance to me. I admired the way painters could influence the hearts and minds of people from different generations and backgrounds. Over time this need developed deep roots in me. From the age of 15, I decided to follow my dream and have been addicted to art like a drug. I painted like a maniac, one work after another. After a lot of years, the meaning of a “painter” with the “artist” was gradually changed. To be an Artist is a difficult word to carry on the shoulders. I commit myself that this word I will serve with honor and dedication in my entire life as other artists have done in the past.

TNH: How did the project come about with Chateau Nico Lazaridis?

Family memorial photo, 2018, by Giorgos Taxidis. Photo: (Courtesy of Giorgos Taxidis)

GT: Before my departure for New York in 2017 I met with Mr. Federico Lazaridis and he asked me if I wanted to make the new labels for Magic Mountain Red and White. Since then we had another collaboration regarding the labels for the 30th anniversary of the Chateau Nico Lazaridi and the award that they gave to people with whom they collaborate and admire. So I designed the new labels that will be used for the next 6-7 years. It was tough but totally worth it. Also, I wanted to mention that this gesture to invest in Art and a young artist is honorable and I wish that other entrepreneurs will follow this example.

TNH: What can we expect from the upcoming exhibition at the Greek Consulate?

GT: Tiffany Apostolou, the curator of the exhibition, and I worked together in selecting works that aim to connect viewers through memory. We intend for it to be moving and intense but in a very good way.
Tiffany’s starting point was the two core elements of this body of work that I made that we will be exhibiting: Soil and Memory. One is solid, natural, touchable; the other entirely conceptual. Yet, both are intricately linked across many cultures. Particularly within those who have experienced uprooting. This exhibition explores the union of soil and memory through painting, drawing, and installation in order to evoke the innermost parts of the viewer’s psyche.

Memories by Giorgos Taxidis, soft pastel on paper, 39.3 x 27.5 in (100 X 70 cm), 2018. Photo: (Courtesy of Giorgos Taxidis)

The word of the exhibition’s title apóllūmai [transl. ἀπόλλυμαι] refers to loss in the general sense as well as loss of one’s self, like the way you lose yourself in memory and thought. Loss generates a yearning to fill the void of absence, and in such cases, memory serves as a placeholder. The works presented in ἀπόλλυμαι [apóllūmai] connect viewers by addressing the loss of roots and loved ones, as well as the fundamental human experience of losing one’s self in memories. The central works of the exhibition are a monumental painting and an installation work that we are very excited to present to a wider public. We are also excited that an exhibition which dabbles in memory and being uprooted coincides with our major national holiday of the 25th of March as well as the 100th grim anniversary of the Greek Pontic Genocide.

TNH: Family and memory are featured in many of your works, what else inspires you?

GT: I draw influence from cinema, literature, and my observation of the world. I am compelled to learn as much as possible, diverse subjects that somehow my mind associates with Art. Moreover, my interest always lies in the human condition, as a whole – as a being.

About the Artist

Giorgos Taxidis is a Merit Scholar from the New York Academy of Art for MFA studies. In 2018 his work selected for the XL Catlin Art Prize. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Fine Arts, School of Visual And Applied Arts of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki with grade “excellent.” In 2013- 14, he studied at the UCM Facultad de Bellas Artes in Madrid, Spain following the Erasmus program. Taxidis is a Fulbright scholar and a recipient of the Harry D. Triantafyllou Award. He has a scholarship from the NEON Organization, Cyprus Children Fund, Gerondelis Foundation, and others. In 2015, he took 1st place in an Art Competition called Art&TheCity 5 in Athens. In 2012, he received praise in the competition of ELTA (Hellenic Post Office) for the publication of a special series of stamps “Europa 2012” titled “Visit Greece.” His works are found in several private collections in Greece and abroad. He lives and works in New York.

More information is available online: www.giorgostaxidis.com.

Memories by Giorgos Taxidis, soft pastel on paper, 37 x 27.7 in (94 X 70.5 cm), 2018. Photo: (Courtesy of Giorgos Taxidis)
Mother and Son by Giorgos Taxidis, soft pastel on paper, 35x28cm, 2018. Photo: (Courtesy of Giorgos Taxidis)
Memories by Giorgos Taxidis, soft pastel on paper, 75X56 cm, 2018. Photo: (Courtesy of Giorgos Taxidis)

Father by Giorgos Taxidis, pencil and charcoal on paper, 100X70cm, 2014. Photo: (Courtesy of Giorgos Taxidis)
 
Nico Lazaridi Magic Mountain Red 2013. Photo: (Courtesy of Chateau Nico Lazaridi)

Chateau Nico Lazaridi Red 2016. Photo: (Courtesy of Chateau Nico Lazaridi)
Chateau Nico Lazaridi box with illustration by Giorgos Taxidis. Photo: (Courtesy of Chateau Nico Lazaridi)