Βlack and white go beyond the definition of color; they embody presence and absence.

Giorgos Tzinoudis

Painting COVID-19

Text: Dimitra Kehagia || Photographs: Giorgos Tzinoudis’ archive

Giorgos Tzinoudis paints the coronavirus in black and white, as he works up COVID19’s portrait, while remaining in quarantine mode. This new reality, shaped by the restrictive measures imposed, found the artist in a state of creativity, dressed up in black and white tones and dominated by patterns and motifs. “After all, black and white represent the primary conditions of existence, they go beyond the definition of color; they embody presence and absence. A form of pure bareness.” Bareness more or less mandatory, as the shutdown of retail stores rendered the use of color somehow out of the question. “You cannot afford to sit down and wait for a whole fifteen days just for a brushstroke.”

During his quarantine days, in his studio-apartment in the neighborhood of Koukaki, Tzinoudis had already completed a dozen of little “claustrophobic” paintings, as he likes to call them, before engaging in this portrait of a virus bound to go down in history for medical, social, financial and environmental reasons. “As colossal as these events may be for humanity, my works’ success does not rely on them. The secret ingredient for art to enter the realm of greatness is to speak to the heart of common people. Private should give way to the collective and become the voice of a community of people.”

Of course, universal appeal by nature knows no frontiers, a concept that was never to the artist’s liking, except as a part of his motifs and patterns. Athens, New York, Madrid, London are the places Giorgos Tzinoudis grew attached to and attempts to reconnect with, through his art. “I go where my painting leads me to. Fortunately, unlike other forms of art, painting is not contained by language. The difference in vantage point only leads to different apperceptions. The opportunities and the conveniences offered in Athens, where the art circuit is delimited, are fewer than in New York. On the other hand though, it is much more costly to own and run a studio in NY than in Athens.” Giorgos Tzinoudis would consider not only seizing a professional opportunity in California, “a land of different culture compared to the East Coast”, but also exploring an entirely different culture, such as the Japanese, as he is “always open to new challenges.”

He was born in Katerini, in 1980. He graduated from the Department of Plastic Arts and Arts’ Sciences, at the University of Ioannina. He carried on his studies in Madrid, obtaining a master’s degree from the Complutence University. He went on to receive a Fulbright scholarship, in New York.

Besides painting, he’s into boxing and writing, while he enjoys being in a constant move. In his own words: “I will go wherever I need to be, until someone pays the electricity bill for that sparkly sign right in the middle of Hell.”