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ALEXANDER MASSOURAS: 'OTHER PLACES' AT AUSTIN/DESMOND FINE ART

Other Places by Alexander Massouras features an array of new and recent artworks, each of which explores themes centred around time and narrative. Through his art, Massouras challenges visual realities and draws on contextual references to create compositions that are not just compelling but also poignant. writes Avantika Pathania. 

Installation shots courtesy of Ben Deakin


For Other Places, he derives inspiration from travelling and the concept of postcards, seamlessly combining both to craft stimulating narratives. His practice is usually influenced by found imagery. “I look at postcards a lot and travel brochures, often quite old ones, for these paintings. They capture leisure and the way that we think about work and leisure, along with the going away aspect of holidaying. I tend to encounter those images, and from there I just end up putting them in decontextualized spaces. When you think of travel, there’s a kind of wish-you-were-here sentiment on postcards. These are wish you were here, but without the ‘here.’ Sometimes it’s just about the particular location or setting and the figures are just incidental. Here, the figures become the subject.” 


From left to right, top to bottom: Alexander Massouras, Four Summers, Castaways Hotel, 2024, Four Summers IX, 2024, Four Summers XVI, 2024, Four Summers XV, 2024


Massouras’ paintings, although different, are united by an “interest in photography.” He is an admirer of 15th-century Italian paintings and the Pop Art movement. His series titled Four Summers, a collection of paintings made between 2019 and 2024, is the most engaging in the space. These paintings employ a colour palette and theme of isolation that echoes Edward Hopper’s realist paintings. On having a resemblance with Hopper’s works, Massouras affirms, “His works look a lot like a stage set, very theatrical.” 



Alexander Massouras, The Triumph Of Poverty, 2011


Emily Austin, Projects Curator and Gallery Manager at Austin/Desmond explains that the curatorial process aimed to unite “different series that share common themes, such as time, relic, and antiquity, while representing the broad spectrum of Massouras’ work.” Massouras presents travelling and leisure in an ambiguous manner that is both intriguing and captivating. It is difficult to determine where all these people are situated, what they are doing, or even where they are sitting. However, this is where Massouras’ creativity truly shines, capturing an otherworldly essence that is both mesmerizing and profound.


Alexander Massouras: Other Places will run from 14 March – 20 April 2024 at Austin/Desmond Fine Art.


 

Avantika Pathania is a London-based writer and arts journalist.

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