....this is not intended as an exhaustive listing of exhibitions I have participated in.

The first exhibition in which I was a participant was a joint exhibition at Roen Art Gallery (a small local suburban gallery) with school friend artist Heather Robinson in June 1981. My paintings were only exhibited once more in the eighties, in 1985. My works were rejected by all the commercial Melbourne galleries I approached in that decade. One gallery at that time advised me that the art in vogue was "neo expressionist pop op art", which mine clearly ws not. I then exhibited with the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria from 1992 to 1996.

Since 1995 I have exhibited with Roar Studios, an artist run gallery. My first solo was at Roar in June 1999. My works were also included in the Roar stand of the 1996 Australian Contemporary Art Fair 5 (the Australian Contemporary Art Fair is now known as the Melbourne Art Fair). In the nineties, I did one better than the previous decade: I was rejected not only by all the commercial galleries I approached in Melbourne, but also all of the commercial galleries approached in Sydney. In Australia if it's not decor, Australiana, or the faux avant garde, it will not sell!

.... when art is defined by the (art) market it is no longer art that is sold, but a commodity intended to pay for the wages, rent, overheads of the venture (gallery) in question. This means that the gallery is not going to exhibit anything that might conflict with the art orthodoxy of the day. When the 'artist' deliberately sets out to create work that caters to market appeal, for the sole purpose it being sold, instead of expressing an idea, they are reduced to the status of artisans, not artists. Regardless of whatever talent these artisans may possess they instead create objects d'art, not art. The creation of such pseudo-art usually entails a considerable degree of self-censorship. It is 'art' that has only come about by researching what buyers want. High art has nothing to do with what buyers want, for the prospective buyer is merely looking for a work of craft that serves merely as an adjunct to their other decor. Art created with the tastes of the prospective buyer reduces the artist to an artisan whose work contributes nothing to the sum total of human endeavour. 


11 - 30 March 1994

Exhibition of paintings with the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria. City Square, Melbourne: 11-30 March 1994
(featuring paintings from 1989 -1993). The city square was demolished shortly afterwards..... not, I am assured, because my paintings were exhibited there!


1996

Two of my works in the Roar stand at the ACAF of 1996. A mixup meant that my name did not appear in the list of exhibitors at this show, even though my works were exhibited.


Roar, June 1 - 13 1999

Photograph of the opening of the 1999 exhibition at Roar Studios. The exhibition was entitled "THE SURREAL AND FANTASTIC: the paintings and computer art of DEMETRIOS VAKRAS".

This show was, despite limited sales, a very big affair. Roar Studios was divided into two exhibition spaces. My partner Lee-Anne Raymond was also showing her works in the smaller exhibition space at Roar Studios too. There was a massive turnout for the opening with hardly enough room to move!

Roar Studios was an artist run space in Fitzroy (in Melbourne). A few months prior to the June 1999 exhibition Vali Myers had exhibited her works there (April 1999). A few years later Roar was no more (it was redeveloped for residential use).



17 February - 16 March 2000

Exhibition of paintings at the CASspace, Collins St. Melbourne: 17 February 2000 - 16 March 2000
(featuring paintings & digital prints from 1996 - 1999)



2001

Four works exhibited in group show featuring emerging artists at Melbourne gallery Mansour + Hill in LaTrobe Street in Melbourne's CBD. The show ran from 31 July - 11 August 2001. Fortunately no works were sold ... Prospective buyers could have made substantial savings as the Gallery had listed three of the four paintings' prices without including the gallery commission and/or GST! I would have received around half my asking price .... meaning half of the (approx.) $2.80 per hour my paintings sell for....


2002

Amalgam - duo exhibition of the works of Lee-Anne Raymond and Demetrios Vakras at Melbourne Gallery 4Cats, 9 April to 27 April 2002.


October of 2002

Four of my paintings travelled to Chicago, USA to appear in an exhibition organised by Veronika Kotlajich of Echo Galley (Chicago) for Halloween. My works appeared alongside those of other artists, such as Daniel Ouellette.


exhibition at Echo Gallery Chicago


echo gallery late evening... showing the Chicago skyline


Echo Gallery directors, Derek (left) Veronika (right), with Demetrios and partner Lee-Anne (centre).


POST SCRIPT: after the USA EXHIBITION

RETURN OF ART TO AUSTRALIA
When the exhibition at Echo finished my works had to return from the USA. Fortunately for Australians they are protected by a vigilant customs and quarantine department whose actions are governed by Australia's self-belief in Australia's innate and central importance in world affairs which they, the frontline troops, are to keep intact. Armed with the knowledge that events of global significance are more likely to happen on Australian soil than anywhere else on this planet their job is to protect Australians. In protecting this country from a world full of villains their vigilance is not tempered by their stupidity or lack of imagination. So it was, that when my purpose-built art crate reached its destination, Australia, the authorities of this country acting with the impunity possessed by a body which can act with complete immunity from the consequence of their actions decided that my crate posed a risk. Somehow, in the nation central to world civilisation, my crate with its paintings was, it seems, no more than a Trojan Horse intended to get in underneath their radar. So in looking for the means by which I was going to corrupt the Australian mind these authorities decided that there must be something of value concealed in the crate and this of course excluded the paintings. The interior of this crate was slashed (below is one of the photos I have taken). Parts of the polystyrene were gouged out ... looking for heroin? What? The joins of this crate are glued and stapled together. These were pried apart by customs looking for the pestilence I may have intended to bring into the country. Alas, these vigilant defenders of the chastity of a nation already f#=ç@*ked found nothing. So now, as a monument to Australia's vigilance, I have a crate which I can not use again. It is no longer dust/bug proof as anything can now get into it. Its interior is in a condition that if I repaired it by taping up their slashings to use it again to transport paintings it will appear that the crate has been tampered with which will thus elicit investigation again. It's not even good as fire-wood as its exterior is painted yellow and the polystyrene lining will give off toxic vapours. Thanks Australia!


above: circled, the superb craftmanship of Australian customs. This is only part of the damage by Australian customs.
(refer to notes)



exhibition in 2004

Two photomontages were exhibited in a group show at CCP before it closed down.


exhibition in 2009
HUMANIST TRANSHUMANIST
17 June - 5 July
:

the fiasco of Guildford Lane Gallery of Melbourne

This exhibition had been arranged to coincide with the Dalí exhibition held in Melbourne in 2009. Much money was spent by myself and my co-exhibitor Lee-Anne Raymond to make this show a success. This has turned out to be a waste of money. The owner, Robert Cripps, had, at the time of writing this, still not paid us for work that sold during the show [payment was eventually made around 6 weeks later - after we sought legal advice].

During the course of the exhibition he, by his actions, circumvented our capacity to promote our work. His idea of a contract, we were to soon discover, is that he believes he can unilaterally insert conditions subsequent to any original agreement. The result of his actions was the sabotage of the exhibition. Cripps turned the exhibition into an expensive debacle for us, but he made a profit on it.

Below: a photograph of some of the works exhibited at the June-July exhibition in 2009. The exhibition was of never-before exhibited works by myself and Lee-Anne Raymond. A fully illustrated catalogue was published to accompany the exhibition. [the catalogue can be purchased here]. Essays which are featured in the catalogue were pinned alongside our artwork in the exhibition.

As I write in the publication Humanist Transhumanist which accompanied the exhibition, I oscillate from incongruous juxtapositions to symbolism with my art.[a sufficient explanation can be read here] Political commentary is de riguer in art; from Delacroix's celebratory Liberty Leading the People, to condemnatory works such as Goya's The Third of May 1808.

My art is a continuum of such political commentary which is also part of the repertoire of historical surrealism. For example, Max Ernst's Europe After the Rain and Dalí's Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War). (My commentary on the latter work appears on p. 19 of Humanist Transhumanist.)

And, consitent with surrealism's early roots, I am critical of religion, ALL religion without exception. In a country like Australia that boasts of its secularity such criticism you might imagine would be welcome. However, this has turned out to NOT be the case.

Our exhibition was condemend by Cripps not because I was critical of Christianity, or Judaism or of Zoroastrianism, but because I criticised Islam at all. It turns out to be, as I wrote in my essay of 1980, a case of The Instance of Grievance when confronted with the Falsehood of Truth, the title to a drawing of mine from 1978 when I was aged 15. [This essay can be found here]. Cripps' reaction is about shooting the messenger because what he held to be true turns out to be a lie. With his lie exposed he simply shoots the messenger. To explain.

[THIS PAGE IS EXPANDED HERE]


Cripps took exception to my explanatory essays.

Some of my essays juxtapose quotes from both the Old and New Testaments alongside Hitler's Mein Kampf, to show that Hitler's racial exterminations were Biblical (religious). [An assessment of Hitler's Christianity]

Hitler wrote:

"...I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord." Mein Kampf p.60, Manheim translation.

Hitler's enmity of Jews is based on 1 Thessalonians 2.13-16 from the New Testament. [quoted here]




above: one of Cripps' many disclaimers (circled)

Yet it was not the exposure of the Biblical basis of Hitler's racism that Cripps took exception to. His actual objection was to my quoting from the Koran, particularly 9.38-52, in which the god of Islam, "Allah", guarantees automatic "martyrdom" to those who are killed while in the act of killing non-Muslims.

According to Cripps, quoting the Koran is insensitive to "Palestine", because he is opposed to, as he said, "the Jew's state in Palestine." He then accused me of "racism"! (Neither "Israel" or "Palestine", or the conflict there are mentioned in the exhibition)

Cripps, who does not know the difference between opinion and fact, placed disclaimers everywhere in the exhibition.

The "Disclaimer" reads:
"The management would like to state clearly that the views and opinions expressed in this exhibition are those of the artists, and not in any way representative of the views or opinions of the management, staff or volunteers of Guildford Lane Gallery."

The quotes from the Koran though are NOT an opinion. What quoting from the Koran achieved was the exposure of Cripps for what he is: a racist.

Unfortunately, some of the photographs are not in focus (limited depth of field). When Lee-Anne and I visited to photograph our exhibition, he followed us, harried us, ranting, ordering us out of our exhibition, even though we had a legal right to be there, and he had no legal means of executing his demand. He is a bellicose bully limited in erudition and of limited intellect.




below: detail of Cripps' disclaimer




Cripps is a self-confessed racist [this page is expanded here]
He is a manifestation of the new-left who have adopted the sentiments Hitler expressed in his Mein Kampf, but who believe that, though theirs and Hitler's sentiments are the same, their racism is a 'justifiable' one
[expanded here].


There are those who would sooner let his ideas lie: some because his memory is something they would like to be forgotten so that their own advocacy of similar ideas might be unhindered by recollection…” p. xii,

Introduction by D.C. Watt to the Manheim translation of the Mein Kampf into English.

The above brief summary of this exhibition is expanded in greater detail here.

Australian arts journalists (which included those who write for the Age and the Australian newspapers) were contacted by email. Some journalists did respond with sympathetic emails, but did NOTHING. No response of any sort was forthcoming from any journalist from Murdoch's the Australian and Herald Sun.

Australia's arts intelligentsia, a parody of the British arts intelligentsia, ignored the show.

The premise behind many of my works in this exhibition was the condemnation of religion-incited violence, and religion-incited racism. My works specifically condemn the 4 'montheisms': Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, whose religious doctrines demand that their followers commit murder as an act of piety on behalf of their respective faiths. The exhibition also featured two works from my current series of "Mytheic Works" [preview here].

It became evident that Cripps was utterly ignorant of surrealism, ignorant of its counter-cultural, counter-religious, and therefore its original revolutionary intent.

(For example, refer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Révolution_surréaliste :
"the initial issue announced the revolutionary agenda of the La Révolution surréaliste with, "It is necessary to start work on a new declaration of the rights of man."…the third issue announced, "End of the Christian Era."…Writer and actor Antonin Artaud wrote an open letter to the Pope, "Address to the Pope," and expresses the revolt against what Surrealists saw as oppressive religious values…anticlerical remarks are found throughout La Révolution surréaliste and reflect the group's relentless campaign against oppression and bourgeois morality.") ]













 

ABOVE: Photo of a mobile device showing vakras.com not available after Robert Raymond Cripps threatened web-site hosting service Ilisys.

Robert Raymond Cripps is a transporter of art-objects. At some stage he decided to establish a for-hire-gallery space. In late 2008 Cripps opened the "Guildford Lane Gallery". Lee-Anne Raymond and I unfortunately - as it turns out - found out about it, and paid him in advance for the hire of his "gallery". We arranged to hold, in mid 2009, what turned out to be an "exhibition" in name only.

What Cripps did to us is described on this page and its hyperlinks.

Cripps wants this information suppressed. Evidence of his actions makes him look bad and as such it "aggrieves" him. In Australia a suppression of information can be accomplished via "defamation".

In Australian law, the only criterion needed to establish a "defamation" is that one party is "aggrieved" by the availability of information they would rather was suppressed; as defined in s12 of the Act. Australia's Defamation Act of 2005 was specifically created to assist those who seek to achieve suppression of information when the availability of information they wish suppressed "aggrieves" them due to its availability - though the Act itself disingenuously advocates that it intends to "not unreasonably" prevent the imparting of information, s3.

As a consequence, Cripps is suing myself and Lee-Anne Raymond for defamation, and has even sought to prevent knowledge of his suing us from becoming available because it too "aggrieves" him.

Cripps' lawyers have threatened to sue various web-hosting companies
simply because they hosted our sites on their servers. An example known to us includes the threat by Cripps (via his lawyers) that he will add them as a party to his legal suit against us. As a result our sites have been removed either in part or completely from the internet. Cripps' actions even resulted in our being disconnected from the internet COMPLETELY, and unlawfully, by Telstra.


*VCAT has made a summary of the case publicly available: Australasian Legal Information Institute

**Lee-Anne Raymond's account of the exhibition can be found here

***News story on the case reviews.html

[ To read the review of this exhibition by my co-exhibitor, Lee-Anne Raymond ]

[READ THE EXPANDED ACCOUNT HERE]


[the old version of this page is archived]