Having superseded the false dilemma between representation and abstraction, and painting at the exact opposite end to the current pictorial nihilism, Stefanos Rokos creates one of the most vital incarnations of the contemporary one could wish for at this day and age. The particular brand of happiness offered by his works consists in the gradual activation of our desire to inhabit them. At the formal level, and despite their iconographic immediacy, his paintings achieve their elan by means of an imperceptible reversal. Their pictorial codes derive from the post-modern mass-culture (pop-art, graphic design, comic strips), yet at the same time they serve a powerful personal modernism. Their object of love is reality itself, a reality which they do not ridicule or deconstruct but instead turn into myth, without idealising it, but expressing their intense desire for it. Photography is used as a template for the drawing of faces and the coloristic euphoria comes ex post to perfect these forms, without admitting contradictions between imagination, suspension and tangibility. His characters are complete human beings: Rokos does not circumscribe or freeze the object, instead he transmutes its singularity and independence.
Text by Dimitris Karambelas