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Billelis - Welcome The Darkness

Words:

Edd Norval
May 19, 2021

Bill Bogiatzoglou’s art touches on something primordial. Perhaps it’s the statuesque portraits or maybe it’s the contrast between the gold and black. Whatever it is, they depict something symbolic that we’ve forgotten, a truth that has disappeared when humans became docile and domesticated, a reverence for death and what might come after.

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Imbued with an archaic power, seemingly telling narratives of rising empires and falling nations, his powerful imagery combines the overarching theme of death with the grandiosity and ritual of the bejeweled remains of an Egyptian pharaoh - decked out in gold and gemstones, presented like an icon of the afterlife.


Of Greek origins, Bogiatzoglou now lives in Edinburgh - which makes sense. Scotland’s capital is a darkly gothic place, where you could easily get lost in the cobblestones, drunk by the moonlight and consumed by the tales of bodysnatchers and spirits. 


Elegant to the point of a visceral commemorative poetry, one cannot help but spend time looking at his dazzling designs. They’re complex, yet as simple as it comes. Speaking a truth without having to open their mouth. Bogiatzoglou challenges Western perceptions of death and what comes after it.

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Our worldview isn’t global, but isolated to a very small part of it. Here, death is death. There might be an afterlife and we bury our dead in fine clothes as if there’s a chance that where they’re going has a dress code - but nothing is confirmed, nothing is certain or known. In the art of Bogiatzoglou, he adopts a rarer way of looking at the potential of what is, isn't or could be. Death to him is cause for celebration.


He isn’t obsessed with this darkness though, but with beauty. Unflinchingly and achingly beautiful, these celebratory portraits encapsulate the kind of selflessness of past (and some current) civilisations that would gladly sacrifice the valuable now, for the potential of something greater in the future. The worldly for the otherworldly.


Buried with precious stones and metals, Bogiatzoglou’s characters seem to have become these objects. Their aesthetic seeped into the very calcified makeup of their skeletal remains. Beyond these ornate works, the Greek designer makes heavily robotic figures, or even fantasy book covers - thriving when fully immersed in the narrative of his characters.

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Influenced by the splendour of renaissance and medieval art, whose deeply religious overtones connected much of the art produced in those times with a sense of something higher, even supernatural, connecting the human to the realm of God or other. Bogiatzoglou’s digital designs are a contemporary reinterpretation of this desire to make art out of life in the hope that we can transcend the immediate. They’re a hand reaching into the ether, a longing question that might never be answered.

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