Composition - Gaitis Yannis

Gaitis Yannis (1923 - 1984)

Composition, 1975

Oil and inlaid wood, 202 x 147 x 11 cm

Inv. Number Π.5194
On view Main Building

Yannis Gaitis is one of the most characteristic and original representatives of Pop Art in Greece. He was also recognized in France, where he lived for many years. Gaitis invented an archetypal stylized figure that was a concentration of the characteristics of a male inhabitant of mass consumer society. A standardized outline, black hair, a blue hat resembling similar figures painted by the Belgian surrealist Magritte, a striped or checked suit, all on a flat board of a body whose arms are stuck to its sides. This recognizable everyman became the trademark of Gaitis’ art. We see it multiplied and crowded together in many inventive compositions such as this piece, evoking today’s impersonal mass consumer society. Gaitis employed this archetypal symbol to formulate an acerbic social commentary through recognizable humorous and imaginative images that remained pleasing and decorative despite the unpleasant reality they condemned. The decorative striped and checked motifs and the limited but satisfying harmony of dark blue, light blue and white, which Gaitis used almost exclusively, contribute to the sense of euphoria that his work exudes.