Because he is of Greek descent, and interested in myths, it would be too easy to identify Alkis Boutlis with all the gods of the Olympus… Even if he is more interested in the re-interpretation of stories and legends by artists than their primary sources.
In Judith and Holofernes for instance. More than the biblical message, it is the lectures given by Caravage, Lucas Cranach, Lavinia Fontana, Mantegna or Gentileschi that fascinate him, before he actually simpliﬁes their codes. Under Alkis Boutlisʼ brush, this story simply becomes the beheading of a man by a woman. On the other hand, he likes clouding the issue. Most of the time, the bodies he paints are naked. Their tongues intertwine and their penises are erect. But paradoxically, sex in his work represents the absence of sex. The message is elsewhere and genders mix. Men and women cross-dress by wearing masks. These hybrid beings are too sexual — or too asexual? — and submit themselves to the drama of the artwork. “Judith can be more masculine than a Satyr, and Holofernes more feminine than the Ophelia of John Everett Millais”. There is only one step from these references to Symbolism. Léon Spilliaert, Alfred Kubin, Arnold Böcklin, Felicien Rops or Odilon Redon nourish his works. As well as Victor Hugo, William Blake or Artonin Artaud in literature… In Alkis Boutlisʼ paintings, stories get mixed, questions are posed and deliberately blur the understanding of those who look at them. Because he loves stories but never tells how they end!
La belle peinture est derrière nous, Istanbul 2010/Ankara 2011
Greek artist born in 1978 in Thessalonique, Greece.
- Thessalonik et Paris