In 2008 I returned to brush and paints, after an absence of nearly two decades. It was something I needed to do, engage with hands-on crafting. Screen and keyboard, and before them lens and enlarger, had gradually inactivated the relation between vision and muscular reflex, obstructed the projection of the mind via the hand.


Age permitted soberness. Maturity permitted control of impulsiveness. Experience permitted distance. And distance, doubt.


For two years I painted, and as I painted I observed the transmutation of the palette, day by day. Eyes half-closed, I would ask myself where the painting was, in the before or the after, in the intentional or the accidental. And I photographed the changes. Each time, the “incidental work” was succeeded by another, while at the same time the “works” accumulated alongside.


Disconcerted, I look now at the photographs. Of the paintings that are not.


Photographs of paintings?
Or of the art of painting?
Many photographs, no painting.
Both photographs and paintings.


Photographs of non-paintings.


Photographs existing.
Of non-existing non-painting.
For a moment nonetheless existing.
In the service of a painter’s art.


A photographer.
Sometimes a painter.
And again a photographer.


Work or incidental work?
One and the same. Or both.
And yet, rather, nothing.


Thouli Misirloglou, Art Historian
The scene of the crime and the investigation order
Elementary, my dear Watson, elementary…


I shall pursue —as a detective— the questions and statements of the preceding page, which perhaps intentionally —I shall explain in due course— have been left unsigned:

The works in this catalogue, which you should probably look at before reading anything at all, are dated photographs of fleeting traces of paint on a palette, now gone. In other words, the pictures you see are views of the palette the artist was using while he painted.

Are they, therefore, photographs of painterly remains?

Photographs of a painterly process of addition and subtraction, or a painterly palimpsest? With an aesthetic autonomy, or without?

Or maybe they are photographs of an experiment in photography. Or could that be an experiment in painting? Perhaps they are, after all, paintings created, deceptively and exclusively, to be photographed?

Or might they be photographs of an oblique journal d’atelier, a careful record of each step before and towards the painting?

In any case and in all likelihood, are we talking about a hybrid mutation of painting into photography and vice versa?

Or better still (since you, as readers, will thus escape the babble of banalities on the relationship between painting and photography), is Aris Georgiou simply perpetrating an elaborate hoax?

It is a fact that this is not the photographer’s first venture into painting. Apart from early sketches, he showed his “Microzografika”1 at the Diagonios Gallery in 1986, while a year later he created “Unfavourable Conditions”2 for two art forms: photography and painting. In these works, which involved interventions in the form of multiple exposures, scraping and overpainting on slides, he engineered a marginal confrontation between the raw materials of both arts: film and gesture.

The focus of his intention was not on the form of the image he would capture as a photographer, but on the raw material constituting it and the unstructured content that he would build up on that material, before it and before the final reconstructive image.

He had done something similar with various “Misdeeds”3 in the past, and was attempting something on the same lines now. Something equally devious, that is.

Through this photographic chronicle of a real and used palette now lost, Aris Georgiou once again explores the borderline. Not simply between painting and photography, but between himself —and us— and those two arts.

And yet there is something else that springs to mind. Although the British police had been using photography since the 1840s, the tremendous increase in expert photographs in crime reporting came with the successful development of Sir Edward Henry’s system for identifying fingerprints, which was adopted by New Scotland Yard in 19014. It soon became obvious that the only way to record fingerprints at crime scenes was to photograph them. Thus, more and more photographers became adepts in the use of specialised techniques.

And so I will venture a claim that may aspire to some validity only if you give credence to me as a detective. I will allege that Aris Georgiou has indeed committed a crime, but with a guilty conscience, and may thus be innocent.


In an unorthodox and possibly sacrilegious attempt at psychoanalysis (here the writer, erstwhile detective-cum-prosecutor, assumes the persona of a sidewalk psychoanalyst), I think that at the moment when Georgiou felt the need to paint he was simultaneously filled with guilt and felt profoundly unfaithful to the art of photography.

He therefore decided to hide the products of his unfaithfulness (the paintings he made; they were elsewhere, our investigation will show where), to destroy the primary evidence (his palette), but to reveal his basic identity, at the same dispelling his guilt.

These last two acts would be effected through photography alone. He studiously photographed the condition of his palette each day, in a kind of ritual, preserving its days and nights, recording what was endlessly built, demolished, lost and rebuilt, as long as the game was in progress.

On the one hand he is making an indirect confession of his faith: he is making his painting dependent, albeit through the traces it left behind, on photography, making photography evidence of his painting, which is still hidden behind the brush marks on the palette, and restoring power and pre-eminence to photography.

On the other, he is recording his own guilt, documenting his painter’s fingerprints and disappearing in masterly fashion from the scene of the crime.


If on the other hand we assume that we are confronting a hoax, which lies in the ostensible photographing, by the grace of guilt, of a real and serviceable palette, there is a second scenario: maybe the photographer is not carefully hiding his finished works in his photographs but is displaying them at face value? Maybe Georgiou is not photographing his paintings indirectly, via their traces, but directly and openly? In other words, maybe the palette was never used as a tool, as a means of a supposed act of painting, but is the bearing foundation of the real painterly act, is in fact the painting itself? In that case, the colour configurations are not the result of chance, but are conscious morphological and chromatic exercises. The accused will, of course, stubbornly deny this, because it would mean the absence of any guilt on his part for the betrayal of his great love, photography.

And yet, the palettes we see, which have of course been selected, seem too clean, aesthetically too governed by their own laws, to be mere vestiges. Speaking (still) as a visual arts detective (retired, it’s true), as a signals decoder of encrypted photography, I find highly suspicious the provocative exhibition of the material evidence, magnified on the one hand by the meticulous precision of a professional photographer and a professional lens, and on the other by the exceptional clarity of the prints in a “dramatically limited number of copies”.

That would be not merely a hoax, but a double bluff.


The way to a masterpiece seems to have been opened and abruptly closed. For that reason the sentence to be passed on the perpetrator will be exemplary, aggravated by his ironic and impertinent tone, and equally by his evasion of the first questions he himself anonymously raised. The code of painterly penal procedure, and I personally, guarantee it.

And yet, whatever the truth of the matter, I must reveal the mitigating circumstances and perhaps my own procedural deception: we are still on the way to a masterpiece.

And this way does not lead only to what we may imagine, even if we cannot see it — that is, the masterpiece created from the materials on the palette: it leads first and foremost to what we actually see.

And what, you may well ask, is that? It is the visual landscape created by Aris Georgiou, made of an artist’s materials: the visual landscape created by his need to talk about painting, about the act of painting and about its enduring ambiguity.

The traces of colour recorded in these photographs are painting, even as non-painting. And they are also photography. And both as painting (and as non-painting) and as photography they are an artistic act that conceptually muddies the water, but not as regards the final visual result, nor the experiential necessity. This eccentric look at painting paradoxically brings us closer to it, and to the point on its philosophical dimension where its manifest materiality is transubstantiated into dematerialised, abstract representation.

And to his materials the artist has of course added, in the manner of a good cook and not of a criminal on trial, his own fundamental material: photography. The painted body becomes a photographed body, the painterly waste becomes energy and visually recyclable transmuted matter, which comes under the microscopic lens. Mine and yours.

Photography, from this point of view, produces reality (whether lost or not is no longer of any importance) not only as evidence: it produces painterly reality and celebrations of painting and photography, and therefore an expanded artistic truth, that of constant searching.



On 1 April 1981, ten years ago, my grandmother died. I was thirty. She was born in 1905, and diabetes and Parkinson’s disease had been her chief afflictions for the last thirty years: not ignoble diseases, like cancer, but by no means negligible either. She fought back stubbornly, not out of any desire for heroics but because she needed to live. She very rarely let herself go, and then only briefly, after some emotional blow. In her last two years she started having strokes, which became more frequent towards the end, though fortunately they were not the calvary they might have been. She went to hospital several times in that final period; the last time, she never came home. Once or twice I went with her myself in the ambulance, a distressing experience; the end was in sight by then. Capitulation palpably before me, I found myself thinking about it for the first time, imagining scenarios starring myself as the hero of old age. Grief and preoccupation warred constantly with everyday concerns and the natural optimism of a thirty-year-old.



All around me this endless plane of water. Far across to the South, the rugged profile of Mount Olympus. To the East I can see Holomon Island and, further off, the extended length of the isle of Kassandra. To the north-west, quiet and golden, the peaks of Kaïmaktsalan. Due north, just water.


The Royal Theatre for a Time
[20 October 1983]

At certain moments and on certain occasions, some engineers and architects –and some politicians too, I imagine– put down on paper the plans for a theatre. And, little by little, the craftsmen and the apprentices, with the materials they need, raise the building. And so at some point a building which wanted to be a theatre rose in a place where perhaps another building stood –if it actually replaced anything– or where an empty site gaped, or where, in earlier times, there had been the waters of an ancient harbour that gave way under the pressure of history. And the theatre stood there for many years.


Umm Qais, 28 octobre 2003

Par un matin ensoleillé et calme du debut mars, ici, devant la mer de Salonique, ma pensée recule nonchalemment vers un proche passé pour rencontrer les sensations d’un autre matin de fin octobre dernier, à peine donc il y a quatre mois; que cela semble pourtant loin.

There are no translations available.


Πρώτη δημοσίευση: Περιοδικό συν και πλην, αρ. 3, Θεσσαλονίκη, Φεβρουάριος 1982.

There are no translations available.

Υπόδειγμα υποδήματος

Υπόδειγμα υποδήματος, σελ 78-79, Πανδώρα / περιοδική έκδοση λογοτεχνίας, τεύχος 15, Αθήνα 2004.

Από Kολωνία προς Halle με το τραίνο. Ξάφνου στον διάδρομο, όπου όλοι τους βγαίνουν για να τηλεφωνήσουν με τα handy –το κινητό γερμανιστί–, σαραντάρα κάποιου εύρους με κόκκινο σακκάκι, ξανθά μαλλιά, ξεπλυμένο δέρμα, μακρυά, άσπρη, φαρδειά φούστα και άσπρα καλοκαιρινά, μισοανοιχτά παπούτσια. Εδώ ακριβώς είναι που θέλω να σταθώ.

There are no translations available.

Όλοι αυτοί οι παρακάτω

Πρώτη δημοσίευση: περιοδικό συν και πλην, αρ. 1 Θεσσαλονίκη, Iανουάριος 1981.

There are no translations available.

Στην Πόλη

Στην Πόλη, αφήγημα, σελ 64-67, Πανδώρα / περιοδική έκδοση λογοτεχνίας, τεύχος 14, Αθήνα 2004.

There are no translations available.

Στα Ολύμπια με την κουβέρτα μας

•Στα Ολύμπια με την κουβέρτα μας, σελ 33-38, in Γιώργος Αναστασιάδης, Σινεμά ο Παράδεισος / Οι κινηματογράφοι της Θεσσαλονίκης που άφησαν εποχή, Εκδόσεις Ιανός, Θεσσαλονίκη 2000.



by Aris Georgiou
First published in the literary review "Dendro" # 17-18, January 1986

For days now — well no, it must be a month and a half — I’ve been carrying a photograph around with me, black-and-white, eighteen by twenty-four. I’ve been taking it here and there, in my bag. It shows a middle-aged man in glasses, jacket and tie, resting his elbows on a glass showcase, and gazing solemnly at me, as he poses a little self-consciously in front of a wall covered with silver-coped icons, some of them good, some bad, some hand-painted, some ready-made. There he is, in his shop in Egnatia Street, in 1973.


Olympos Naousa, 21 June 1994

I delve deep into hazy memories of childhood years, seeking my first recollection of the Olympos Naousa. I try to determine if this is a genuine memory or just the echo of tales told by my family. I can just (barely) make out my grandfather Nikos, of my grandmother I am really not sure, nor of my parents, but I do remember that I was still so young I did not come up to the height of the table, with its white cloth, one of what seemed to my eyes an infinity of tables stretching away through the immense space. The recollection is bound up with that of my first taste of beer, urged on me by my grandfather, although the taste blends and merges with other precocious and illicit samplings at another seafront restaurant – as venerable as the Olympos – ‘O Stratis’. Family meals at the Olympos Naousa were always an occasion, always (one always too many?) associated with exceptional circumstances. The restaurant seemed to embody the very idea of the ‘festive outing’ – at a time when the available venues could be counted on the fingers of one hand.


Retour à Montpellier
1971-1977 - 1997-2000

Photographies et texte d'Aris Georgiou
Reperes biographiques de Michèle Auer

Octobre ’98

24.10.1998. A bord d' Olympic pour Marseille via Naples. Il est 9:05. Ce n’était pas comme ça à l’époque. Or, là, depuis Thessalonique –via Athènes, puis escale à Naples–, avion jusqu’à Marseille. On l’avait effectivément fait une ou deux fois, même à l’époque, par avion. Sinon, le rituel était tout autre. Il existait deux variantes: automobile et ferroviaire.


Firing Range

Zoom out, times two, times four, times eight –with half-closed eyes, I deliberateley blur the picture and, with a hard sucking feeling in my stomach, move away: upwards in space, backwards into the past, forward into the future, east to me roots, my birth, my adolescence, west to my coming of age, decline, old age.

There are no translations available.

Εξαδέλφες σε διάζευξη
[τζαζ και φωτογραφία]

Γράφτηκε ειδικά γιά τα δέκα χρόνια του περιοδικού Jazz & Τζαζ
Συμπεριελήφθη στο βιβλίο Φωτοπαρακείμενα, Εκδόσεις Εντευκτηρίου, 1999

There are no translations available.

Shatabti Express
Ταξιδιωτικό σε τρία μέρη

Shatabti Express, ταξιδιωτικό σε τρία μέρη, Α, σελ 34-38, Πανδώρα / περιοδική έκδοση λογοτεχνίας, τεύχος 16, Αθήνα 2005.


Shatabti Express, ταξιδιωτικό σε τρία μέρη, Β, σελ 52-55, Πανδώρα / περιοδική έκδοση λογοτεχνίας, τεύχος 17, Αθήνα 2005.

There are no translations available.

Παρήγορο μου φάνηκε...

Tο κείμενο ζητήθηκε από τον Γιώργο Κορδομενίδη για πεντηκοστό τεύχος του περιοδικού Εντευκτήριο, Απρίλιος-Ιούνιος 2000.

There are no translations available.

"14 Σεπτεμβρίου, 2020. (Tού Tιμίου Σταυρού)."

Γράφτηκε ειδικά γιά τούς "4 TPOXOYΣ" όπου δημοσιεύθηκε μέ μικρές περικοπές. Συμπεριελήφθη στο βιβλίο Φωτοπαρακείμενα, Εκδόσεις Εντευκτηρίου, 1999

There are no translations available.

Jackson Square


Εκδόσεις Εντευκτηρίου, Θεσσαλονίκη, 1999

Aέρινες, ανάλαφρες ριπές ήχων
Διαδοχές συγχορδιών και υπερήχων
Eν είδει ανεσταλμένων καταιγισμών
Oι μουσικές φράσεις αναδύονται εν τούτοις αργοκίνητα
Σχεδόν σαν ορατές αναθυμιάσεις
Στροβιλίζονται βαθμηδόν ψηλότερα
Pυθμός και μελωδία συντήκονται

σε μια και μόνη διάφανη μουσική