Modern Animals Gallery

Angelos Merges


We are pleased to announce "pilgrims", the first solo show of the Zurich based artist Angelos Merges, born 1989.

"Human dynamics, and precisely the human body in relation to itself, had always a major role in my work. In this current series I not only examine the relation between separate individuals but also the relation of the body in its environment. Yet, the topic of being in a liminal situation, (balancing between two different states) continues to be present. The depicted human figures, striped from a clear identity, form groups or sit alone, seemingly waiting for an unknown cause.

Having as a starting point depictions of people in an in-between state and taking advantage of a painting style that has an abstract character, I try to create images that offer what I call an abstract narrative, that is, to express without explaining. The depicted figures, sitting idly, their racial features obscured, sometimes looking fragile and sometimes like "bombs" of light, push the viewers to question the possible background story of the images and the identity of the depicted people. Besides, the reference photos I’ve been using come from various sources, in many cases connected to the reality of my homeplace, the island of Chios. A small place like this, where people are forced to coexist despite their social and class differences, offers me a field of inspiration. In this series I have been using sources such as images of beach holidays intertwined with images of refugees who have just managed to cross the maritime border, while images of nature walks blend with images of people who are outdoors after a natural disaster. And while elements found in the depicted human forms such as the exposed and the unseen, the defined and the blurred, the bright and the overshadowed, the environment that surrounds the heroes of these narrations seems to be in constant transition as well. The ground transmits gradually into the background while in some paintings the sky can be confused for the sea or even ground only offering a notion of a place reminiscent of picturesque landscapes. In either case, the environment takes a spaceless, timeless character through the abstraction of painting.In all cases I attempt to make painting compositions where the body language in relation to its surrounding offers a feeling of uncertainty, fragility or lazy inactivity in order to provide paintings whose themes remain open to the viewer's interpretation."

Angelos Merges
Zurich/Athens, January 2024