Alexi Tsioris’s drawings are the root system of his work, the moss-covered ground from which everything else grows. He often speaks of an unfaltering fascination awoken in him by the levels of abstraction in prehistoric cave paintings, such as those found in Lascaux. Through drawing, he eventually arrived at sculpture, but unlike traditional sculptural drawing, his pieces are never just preparatory work.
Since 2006 Tsioris has made numerous drawings, mainly in felt pen, pencil, and ballpoint pen. The variety of their formal invention seems inexhaustible. They are predominantly characterized by a gentle linear structure, which breaks into an array of undulating “line languages”, as well as into dense, tangled bundles, calling to mind Meret Oppenheim’s apt statement that “[e]very idea is born with its form. […] One does not know where the ideas come from; they bring their form with them […].”
Shadow-less, space-less, and succinct, Tsioris’s drawings are autonomous works, vital counterparts to his three-dimensional pieces. The transparency of the layers within his drawings is entirely equivalent to the volume of his sculptures, and both methods can be described in terms of a buildup of energy. For Tsioris, the previously unknown and the roll of coincidence are decisive factors in both media, and they are constituted by a multi-leveled structure. Drawn and written over, his linear drawings often act as palimpsests, whereby the uppermost level still gives an impression of what lies beneath or what has been erased.
The process-based aspect of Tsioris’s work occurs as part of a constant exchange between constructing and reducing. It is the two- or three-dimensional process of materialization that subjects the idea to formal necessities. Plaster is the artist’s preferred medium for sculptural works. This material offers him the most direct way of permanently building up and removing forms, of adding and subtracting within the sculptural process. In a mainly abstract, non-mimetic sense, sculptural configurations appear in his work which continually conjure up busts or anonymous heads mounted on conical plinths. They are principally “sculptural facts”, a “series of sculptural events” at the start of which “only a vague idea” exists (Henri Laurens).
In addition to drawings and monotypes, the artist is currently producing large-scale engravings made from canvases primed multiple times. While the mystery of the former lies in the indirectness of the printing process - and the sensuality of their appearance determining to some extent the choice of paper -, the latter consists of lines seemingly carved into the surface: in an entirely haptic sense, reductions that release matter.
Alexi Tsioris’s works exude a unique poetry. Emerging from traditional techniques and approaches, they are undeniably documents of their time. They are the creations of a highly sensitive character inclined towards isolation. Their artistic form and rhythm, their often playful consideration of line and volume connects the classical with the eccentric, the curious, the unknown, and the extravagant.
Dr. Michael Semff