Dimosthenis Gallis launches a new style in his latest work under the title “Études” (Studies). With his photographic “nib pen,” the photographer depicts fifteen single and fifteen double male nude portraits. The faces avoid looking towards the lens and thus society itself, as the latter has marginalized them due to their sexual choices. The bare and stripped of social “weights” bodies seek to remind us that they exist, live, feel, think, and pose, like any other human being on earth. Having renounced any kind of lust and fetishism regarding the rendering of bodies, Gallis aims to document a series of studies on these men’s psyche, as they have chosen a different personal path in life (a reprehensible and forbidden path for a large part of the society). Thus, he dives photographically into the depths of their soul and brings into the surface common feelings to all people like loneliness, grief, and frustration. Even binary works exude the most profound solitude of the subjects, who, while appear to have a partner, are not experiencing companionship but a peculiar loneliness that seems even more prominent because of the semblance of togetherness. Their glances do not meet, the physical contact exists or smolders, but they have a total lack of soul encounter. We could describe Gallis as a realist, even a naturalist, as he reflects in his work a “slice of life” on the life of gay men. Regarding his technique, he is original, as he seems to have sketched his works with a nib pen, with clear outlines, highlighting the inner strength and entelechy of the bodies. Gallis here gets his inspiration by the human male anatomy studies of the 17th century and uses his photographic "pen nib" to demonstrate the robustness and autonomy of the bodies in space. The dynamic poses of the models conflict with the internal stagnation and the mental inertia. This stagnation does not act against the force that the works exude. It is a preliminary action stage, a respite before externalizing reaction against social exclusion. At this point rests the entelechy of the bodies: they are potential beings preparing to transform into active beings. Τhe process of preparing, which is painful and liberating at the same time, will lead to perfection, which is the aim of all people, regardless of their sexual choices. This process is necessary for a man to reach the much-desired happiness. The path towards this happiness is undoubtedly more difficult for the people whose sexual preferences are not compatible with the social requirements. Therefore, Gallis with “ÉTUDES” expresses not only a silent protest against the stereotypes but also a proof of the self-evident fact that even though people can be different, they remain equal and with the same emotional needs.
Karpouzis Stratos Art historian-Philologist