art & ecology

The artistic work of Pantelis Tsatsis

What can art contribute to the new environmental awareness?

ArtForum Editions has recently published a monograph on the art and ecology debate, featuring works by the Greek artist Pantelis Tsatsis. Using paintings and watercolors by the artist, a team of authors explores the question: What can art contribute to the new environmental awareness.

Pantelis Tsatsis, a trained economist and former banker, has been artistically engaged almost all his life with a ruthless view of the world. In mostly medium-sized oil paintings and smaller watercolors, he continuously takes stock of his very personal situation. His paintings irritate with their colour-harmonious aesthetics and yet ruthless depiction of the perceived grievances. He sees his art as a personal challenge to rethink something that already has been initiated by the eco-movement or the “Fridays for Future” movement. To put it simply, for him it’s all about the conclusion: “Everyday for future”. As abstract as climate change may seem to many, the effects have long been felt. Concrete changes in our lifestyle, industry and economy have become evident.

Everyday for future

With his paintings, the artist is helping us to open our eyes a little bit more to the importance of nature and the need for sustainable action. If we learn to understand the enjoyment of art as a comprehensive stimulus for our lives, then it becomes clear that art can be an elixir of life. The wealth of his observations and thoughts are only hinted at in his pictures. They may not be fully aware of him himself, because as an artist he acts like a medium that can only help to make things conscious. However, the artist does not convey messages from supernatural beings, angels or spirits, but intuitively points to unsolved problems that are waiting to be noticed and solved.

Tsatsis recognized climate change, its causes and consequences as a major problem very early on, when he was interested in dealing with nature and economic developments. In order to be able to recognize the ecological dimension of art, a different view of the relationship between art and nature than our usual view is required. That is why Tsatsis picks us up where our aesthetic understanding is still dominated by a romantic concept of nature, the untouched landscape, the overwhelming or idyllic nature. It is not easy for us to go from this ‘naivety’ to that ‘continuous reflection’ of an art that reveals its own foundations and thus its relativity. Aesthetically we live in a traditional state of perception, just as we emotionally still live in a geocentric world and that perceive Einstein’s universe as absurd.

Tsatsis: See the world with wide open eyes

Some things may look familiar to the viewer of the works of the artist Tsatsis – and yet these pictures are different. No amount of informative representation, e.g. through a photographic copy, can replace it. Rather, they form the basis for a dialogue about nature and the world in which we live. Everything that motivated the artist when creating his watercolor paintings is also offered to the viewer: an intuitive experience of nature, joy on the one hand and a certain insecurity or even melancholy on the other. Tsatsis succeeds in conveying the sacred realm of the soul in images that refer the viewer to nature and thus to the origin of all our lives.

In view of this dimension, you don’t have to say what can art change about it. Can art be of any use if artists only reflect their feelings in their works? Achieving that, however, is no small task. But artists who deal with their inner and outer world – which ultimately always happens in the necessary interplay and is the basis for reaching viewers – are in truth inventors and trailblazers. Almost all serious artists of their time touched on something essential and brought current trends into public awareness. In this sense, they are part of a community whose contributions help the individual to become aware of the problem and become the focus of social discussion.

With the support of the Winter Foundation Hamburg, the monograph was published simultaneously in English and Greek:
ΤΣΑΤΣΗΣ / TSATSIS, The world we live with. Paintings and watercolors by Pantelis Tsatsis, contribution to art and ecology. Editors: P. Merten &| L.A. Safiriou. ArtForum Editions 2022.
ΤΣΑΤΣΗΣ / TSATSIS, Ο κόσμος με τον οποίο ζούμε. πίνακες ζωγραφικής με λάδια, ακρυλικά και ακουαρέλες του Παντελή Τσάτση, Μονογραφία Συμβολή στην τέχνη και την οικολογία, 2022.

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