Nikias Skapinakis’s painting is the clearest example in Portugal of a painter who crosses half a century of painting and is always able to find the specific nature of each image in a dialogue with the flow of its metamorphoses.
His most well-known reference is possibly his relationship with pop art, which is present in the almost typographic flatness of his vibrant planes, as well as in the sensuality of the women he depicted. One might also talk about Matisse and about the predomination of a form that is born out of drawing and then becomes a chromatic field. But his path is more complex, covering a much wider spectrum of procedures, ranging from the reduction of the palette at the end of the eighties to the fragmented explosion of the flows of forms in the landscapes he painted before this, to the melancholy of the portraits that marked out many of the debates around his path – through the feminism they demonstrated – in the seventies.
Skapinakis’s work is a painting that is very aware of its own processes, and seems to somehow come from the controversy he started in 1958 in a famous conference where he equated the return of figuration as an inevitability of the consecration of modernism.
Skapinakis’s painting is perhaps the only example in Portugal of an artist who consciously thinks painting as an image, and at the same time produces a work that reflects on its own conditions of viability – which doesn’t mean that it is meta-painting, but a “painting in the first person” that is permanently indulging in self-analysis.
In this sense Skapinakis over time built a puzzle around the procedure of painting as an image, yet never devalued the belief that one image is always aimed at another and thus at recognition; and that it is in this recognition that its specificity is played, as well as its capacity to remain as a fitting and irreplaceable field, beyond the reach of photography and the imaging technologies that have run through this last half century.

Delfim Sardo


  • Title: Natureza
  • Creator: Nikias Skapinakis
  • Date Created: 1988
  • Location: Lisbon
  • Physical Dimensions: 250 x 175 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: © Culturgest - Fundação Caixa Geral de Depósitos
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Photographer: © DMF, Lisbon
  • Inventory: 275546

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