Panos Tsagaris was born in Athens in 1979. He studied Fine Arts at Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design in Vancouver, Canada. His work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions in various venues including The Museum of Contemporary Art in Leipzig, the Belvedere Museum in Vienna, the Assab One Foundation in Milan, as well as the Thessaloniki Performance Festival at the 2nd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art. He lives and works in New York. Panos Tsagaris is represented by Kalfayan Galleries, Athens-Thessaloniki.
The unique artistic nature of Panos Tsagaris’ practice is focused and based on an esoteric investigation. An investigation that brings to light and at the same time confronts various religious and spiritual traditions, values and ideals, such as spirituality, death (biological and spiritual death), the unknown, our existence, the passing to the next higher level, the beginning of the transcendent consciousness. Very much influenced and impressed by mysticism and the occult, Tsagaris, through his mixed media art practice (painting, drawing, photography, performance) charges mystical symbols and allegories and reinforces their magical and disarming powers. Charcoal, graphite, gold, silver and copper are some of the main materials that Tsagaris uses in his artworks, materials often used in mystical ceremonies and rituals; his own blood is often used in his drawings, signifying not only the purification aspect of his work but also its self-sacrificial quality.
Even though he lives and works in New York, Tsagaris is affected by the current situation, the dramatic socio-political changes that are taking place in his home country. He has been working on a new, rather remarkable series based on the current economic crisis in Greece. Over the last two years the artist has been collecting the cover pages of the New York Times that had as their main focus the dramatic events that have been unfolding in Greece. Tsagaris covers the text from the newspapers with gold leaf or with black ink. Based on the alchemical tradition of transforming undeveloped consciousness (lead) into fully developed consciousness (gold), Tsagaris creates a multi-layered image that reinforces the power and impact of the exposed photograph. Despite the harsh message which these artworks reflect, there is always an impending purity and a different dimension of reality implied. In his 12-part work, Tsagaris has taken the influential cover from the French newspaper Liberation (with the word “chaos” written in Greek) first to underline the dramatic journey towards distraction and decay, not only of Greece but of modern society in its entirety and, at the same time, to express the rebirth and catharsis that Greek society can experience after the passage from the existing socio-political crisis that we are currently experiencing.
Finally, the quest for divine light that is reflected in Tsagaris’ artwork unravels fully in his performance pieces. His performances which often accompany the production of his painting process, are purification rituals, celebratory ceremonies through which the artist delves into the core of various spiritual and mystical traditions in order to discover, reveal and embody the universal truth.