the surreal and fantastic: The art of Australian surrealist
Demetrios Vakras

l'art fantastique

This site was first hosted on Tripod in c.1999 as "demetrios-vakras". From c.2000 until 2013 it was hosted by Vicnet - - before being moved to its own domain

Demetrios Vakras was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1962. He has been painting with oil paints since 1977 and has never wavered from his elucidation of the bizarre, fantastic and surreal. He is self-taught.

He has a great distaste for the pretensions of artistic aspirants whose lack of any real talent is celebrated as the quintessential ingredient that actually defines them as "artists". Australian art "culture" is such that commercial galleries have baulked at exhibiting his work. The only art that sells in Australia is either "Australiana" (Anglo-nationalist art) or the internationally celebrated faux-avant-garde; anachronisms from a century ago that are the antithesis of the definition of "avant-garde".

avant-garde |ˈavänt ˈgärd; ˌavä n |

noun (usu. the avant-garde)
new and unusual or experimental ideas, esp. in the arts, or the people introducing them ...

Nearly a century has elapsed since Marcel Duchamp's 1915 declaration that "ready-mades" - that is, objects created by someone other than the "artist" - were "art", and that credit for their creation should go, not to their maker, but to whomever the buffoon is who declares them to be art.

And, it was 1938, at the International Exhibition  of Surrealism (Galerie des Beaux-Arts, Paris)  that Salvador Dalí exhibited his installation Rainy Taxi

Since then, the art-world's pseudo-intelligentsia MANIFEST the symptoms of the Alzheimer's sufferer. There is no end of buffoons looking at every installation, every "ready-made" and every "found object" and declaring such to be totally new, never before seen: avant garde!  "Avant  garde" has been turned into the recycling of yesterday's idea. For the Duchampian, lack of skill is no impediment to "creating"; another possessing requisite skills can be commissioned to create a work for which the Duchampian, the "artist", will take credit because art apparently has no relationship to those with the skill to create it. Duchamp has provided the means by which those devoid of talent and devoid of skill - τέχνη - can be assuaged of the anguish they feel on their realisation that they possess no attribute of any significance; and that the absence of talent is common.

The "Duchampians", by giving to themselves the unjustifiable credit for the accomplishing of that which has been accomplished by others, do so simply to augment their own social standing, for their own personal or financial gain, and are by such means perpetrating nothing more than a fraud.

fraud | frôd |
wrongful ... deception intended to result in financial or personal gain ...
• a person or thing intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities  ...

The Duchampian fraud is the declaration that art is defined by the absence of art; meaning that it is the skill of having no skill and celebrating that absence of skill as a skill in itself!

Ars: if one has no skill one is not an artist.

And without technique, τέχνη (techne), one has no art, τέχνη.

In desperation Vakras has, in the past, exhibited with groups such as the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria Inc.

Since 1996 he has participated in group shows at the artist-run gallery Roar Studios in Melbourne. His first solo exhibition at Roar Studios,  was held 1 -13 June 1999. This exhibition also included his digital images of that year.

Paintings on this site were exhibited at the CASspace, Collins St Melbourne from 17 February 2000 - 16 March 2000

Review: "Vakras...explores...the human form unfleshed and revealed...[his] images will astonsih and amaze [with the] electric fluidity with which the images are executed."Tessie Virgiotis, Vibe magazine. June 1999  [MORE]

Review: "If you're prepared for a hint of the macabre, why not take your subconscious to a surreal new level when you visit this show." Jane Rocca, theAge Citysearch. February 2000  [MORE]

front cover
back cover

catalogue featuring the work of Demetrios Vakras (at

"Duchamp declared, by his deeds, that any talentless hack is an artist, as being talentless is an innate talent in itself; merely claim as your own artistic achievement that which is created others, and then declare that which had hitherto not been considered art as being art. It is worth only to note that Duchamp has spawned imitators, admirers and militant sycophants who, also devoid of talent, see him as their salvation from their own irrelevant uselessness. An army of Duchamp imitators is cloned yearly in anglophone cultural institutions. Duchamp casts an extensive shadow particularly over the anglophone intelligentsia…" pp. 17-18 Humanist Transhumanist ISBN: [978-0-646-52188-6]


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[- this page was extensively re-edited December 2013 - the original version as it stood from c.2000-2013 (previously hosted by Vicnet, ) can be found here -]

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