12 September 2004
Arts by Glyn Hughes
Our French connections
The magical abstraction of V.P. Vasuhan
Cypriots have studied there since the 1920s, the Embassy in Nicosia has organised the prestigious Matisse Prize
and our artists often exhibit in the city. And now V.P. Vasuhan from Jaffna - who has painted here in Cyprus -
has a show, too.
V.P. Vasuhan's exhibition in Paris was a great success. Set in the beautiful basement of Annick Garin's Bayadere
(which is filled with magnificent contemporary hand-loomed Sri Lankan fabric) his work makes new insights into
the art of painting. Eros appears to be present on a great deal of the canvases but with surface incisions,
writing and collage Vasuhan captures a fantasy image which surely is inherited from Sri Lankan culture as
much as his interest in French art.
Evoking spiritual thoughts, floating towards creative whimsy now and again, plus a great deal of wit, involvement in
a passion for landscape and nature, and a strong interest in current affairs as well as an original slant on top drawer
aesthetics is very welcome indeed.
If the artist can carry on with the same intriguing mixture Paris has ― via Jaffna, Colombo, Nicosia ― a most new
and promising artist on its hands. He is an original. Call it magical abstraction.
Just like at any other opening, I bumped into visitors I knew in the past.
There was Senarath Yapa who encouraged me in Nicosia to paint fairly abstract canvases inspired by stories.
One was titled Rivers stopped flowing to contemplate the Bodhisattva. The Mayor of Nicosia was not there but the
Deputy Mayor of Saint Quen, Valerie Geoffroy added considerably to the atmosphere with her warmth and interest.
Arunthathi, the director of the film Muhum (Face) was involved in strong discussion with Vasu over the paintings.
Wearing traditional clothing, the classical music expert, thavli player Thaddshana Moorthi Uthayasangare found
time from his world tour to call at Vasu's show.
A Mr P. Lenin from the "Raya Yoga" centre in Paris, but originally from Madras, took a keen interest in pictures
with titles such as Savuku and Alaveddi. A French woman looked stunning in a Bayadere original. A Mr Theepan -
who remembered Kaimakli - was busy taking photographs while the gallery owner, Annick Garin, circulated with
impacable style. Vasuhan opened the champagne.
The gallery is at 23 rue Louis Blanc 75010 Paris and the exhibition continues until 27th September.
Some titles: Raani Maami, Mermaid & Mouette 11, Cascade, Val d'Isere, I Mai 2004, Alaveddi, Sensyalite
Francaise, Savuku, Quill, Women In the Paddy Field. Collection, Icone.
HauNch of Venison, Haunch of Venison Yard, London always keeps in touch with the Arts Page. An exhibition of
Young German Art opened last night. Those participating are Andre Butzer, Michael Beutler, Bjorn Dahlem, Andreas
Hofer, Michaela Meise, Josephne Meckseper, Markus Selg and Thomas Zipp.
From November 3, 2004 until 8 January 2005 the gallery hosts Keith Tyson with his Geno/Pheno Paintings.
This is Tyson's first major UK exhibition since winning the Turner Prize in 2002 and will present a significant
body of previously unseen new work.
Tyson (British, born 1969) is one of the most innovative contemporary artists and is known for his extraordinary
diverse body of work in painting, drawing and sculpture.
His highly original works result from his experiments with the form and content of art, and engagement with
the theoretical studies that purport to explain the world.
Respect and homage to France
Cypriots have studied in France since the early part of the 20th century. Loukia Nicolaidou 1929, Charilaos Dikaios
1937, George Mavroides 1950 and Christoforos Savva 1956.
Also while I believe that Andreas Asproftas and Dr Vassos Lyssarides went to study at a medical school,
Andreas soon switched to painting while Vassos took up the brush later. Since those earlier times many more
have studied there.
In 1997 seven artists, five Cypriot, one British (Fiona Stanbury), one Sri Lankan (V.P. Vasuhan), through
EKATE (The Cyprus Chamber of Fine Arts) payid homage to French paintings 1900-1960.
This was a highly gifted group working night and day at the Melina Hall to paint huge paintings from French art.
Where are these works of art now? Painted by our better talents and of much value. I remember the
University here was not particularly interested. Too erotic (Gauguin!!!) or too French!
Here is the list of HOMAGE TO FRENCH PAINTING 1900-1960, painted and exhibited at Melina Hall,
November 1997.The Arts Page would love to know where they are now. Perhaps the artists of
Cyprus could have them back. Double signed.
- Paul Cezanne
'The Bathers' 1904-6. Painted by Fiona Stanbury
- Paul Gauguin
'And the Gold of Their Bodies' 1901 (the artist died in 1903). Painted by Aristotelis Demetriou
- Pablo Picasso
'Les Demoiselles D'Avignon 1907. Painted by Aristotelis Demetriou.
- Georges Braque
'Bathing Women' 1907-8. painted by V. P. Vasuhan
- Henri Matisse
'Dance' 1910. Painted by Doros Heracleous
- Vassily Kandinsky
'Last Judgement' 1912 painted by V.P. Vasuhan
- Pablo Picasso
'Guernica' (detail) 1937 Painted by Stella Angelidou
- Fernand Leger
'La Grande Julie' 1945 Painted by Eleni Papanicolaou
- Pierre Bonnard
'Wife in Bath' 1936 (the artist died in 1947) painted by Fiona Stanbury
- Pierre Soulages
'Painting' 1948 Painted by Stavros Stavrinis
- Jean Fautrier
'Small Hostage' 1943 painted by Stavros Stavrinos
- Yves Klein
'Anthropometry of the Blue Period' 1960 painted by V.P. Vasuhan
It's a long march
How out of touch are we? In detail. Our post Duchamp art breakthrough last season was Artrageous'
Nomadifesta in Nicosia where after meeting at Solomos Square, hundreds of artists walked to Casteliotissa
with their art-filled suitcases.
Yet in Paris I never saw a single suitcase outside Gard du Nord.
At least not those kind you carried in the hand or needed a porter.
Only Adonis Serghiou (aged 3) pulled along his belongings on wheels on that ever-so-pleasant walk to Paphos Gate.
But note the number of artists.
There is no doubt at all that the art scene is extraordinarily energetic.
We certainly have the talent.
In abundance, in fact.
Group exhibition in memory of Michalis Kashalos
This homage organised by Nicos Psatharis of Kypriaki Gonia, Larnaca has been superbly orchestrated
from the start to the present excellent display of Cypriot art hung in the gallery.
The exhibition will continue until 30 September. The works are very well chosen with many outstanding
paintings by our women artists Maria Tourou and Xenia Panteli have superb work on display.
Remember, Kypriaki Gonia is closed on a Thursday. The gallery is efficiently high-tech, having a busy
web site; tel 24 621109 for more information
While I was admiring Michalis' 1965 painting of the Green Line - full of humour actually -
Kyriacos, the son of Kashalos walked in.
He also is an artist and has two works in the show.
Kyriacos had read the Arts Page two weeks ago and said that as a small boy he too used to come to the
English School with his dad to collect the instalments on the master's paintings. He remembered me
visiting his mother at Famagusta General Hospital, too.