Paris Prekas (1926-1999)

Audio tour

Sails, 1962, oil on canvas, 93.3 x 185.5 cm

With a strong reference to architecture, geometric white shapes make up this artwork where balance and harmony prevail. The painting’s subject-matter may not be readily graspable at first, but the title is quite enlightening. We are looking at sails and masts, painted by Prekas abstractly, as the wide surfaces blend in with the horizontal and vertical axes that run through them, creating a robust composition.

The colour white is used as evidence of the pervasive Greek light, while the very few dark hues at the foot of the painting weigh on the overall composition, which thus becomes more solid. The broad white surfaces that have been competently placed one next to the other give the impression of texture and multidimensionality, as if the work was almost sculptural.

Starting off from his visits to the island of Hydra and his undiminished interest in the island landscape, Paris Prekas focuses on individual elements – like the sails in this painting – and moves with ease to an abstract and geometric result, where the monumental and the symbolic rule. We are far from a realistic rendering of the landscape. Here other ideas take centre stage, like that of the sea or the traditional Greek island landscape, in which white is always the protagonist. Being anything but concrete, such ideas are aptly mastered through the language of abstraction and geometry.