The “Psyche” by Dimosthenis Gallis
Dimosthenis Gallis, through his new exhibition “Psyche”, tries to capture with his camera the “imprintings” of the soul. His way of working is original and intriguing. Even though the materials and the way he is using them is simple, their combination achieves to depict a complex issue, that of the soul. A model appears like a shadow, having a playful mood and thus the message emerges clearly: the spiritual world is the dominant component of human existence. There are people who believe that their virtue is enough and do nothing to enhance and increase its reserves. Instead, they have the same perception of wealth, material possessions and glory. Therefore, they are consumed trying to increase the external goods and hence their external characteristics, doing nothing to cultivate their intellect and ethos. Soul is perceived as stable and unchanging, while material wealth as variable and ever growing. They are engaged in a merciless race to achieve happiness; whereas they are ostentatiously indifferent to happiness in the Aristotelian sense of eudaimonia. They do not consider the fact that in order for happiness to be completed, fortune is responsible; while for eudaimonia, personal awareness and alertness are enough to achieve this goal. Besides, its effects are long-term as opposed to the temporary nature of materiality. At the same time, intellectual cultivation and growth is responsible for the maintenance of the material wealth, but not vice versa. All the above-mentioned attest in the most undeniable manner the superiority of soul over body, without of course this being at the expense of equal development of duality of existence. Thus, Gallis chose to capture the soul as luminous, playful, with black and white tones and textured. The model is hidden behind a sheet, having a strong light at its back. Therefore, while one would expect the background to be illuminated and the model to be dark, thanks to the inverted tonalities and the final viewing of the negative of the photographic act, the exact opposite is happening. In this way, the whole concept is akin to the traditional shadow theater, popularizing in this sense an issue with a metaphysical dimension. It could be also argued that the composition refers to the Platonic myth of the cave, as the materials and how they are being used seem to be inspired by the philosophical myth. Thus, soul emerges contoured with clarity from a pitch dark background, imposing its presence in space. It is moving, altering the darkness that is trying to confine it. Sometimes it wins, but its winning is temporary. Soul has wisdom and virtue as weapons and activates them in order to withstand the physical enemies. Their activation requires their adequate cultivation. The latter depends on the self-consciousness of every person; that is to say, whether each one of us feels that their reserves of ethos and intellect are enough. Therefore, Gallis’ command emerges as perfectly reasonable and imperative: the pursuit of Eudaimonia should be the primary objective of every human being, so that it reaches the maximum level of completion and realization of its true purpose. Which is it? At this point lies the multiplicity of the message of “Psyche”.
Karpouzis Stratos Art historian-Philologist