Part 1: Important Fine Art
27 November 2013


born 1974

oil on canvas

110.0 x 150.0 cm

signed with initials and dated lower right: MZ07

$25,000 - 35,000

Lorraine Pilgrim, Southport, Queensland
Private collection, Perth

Catalogue text

Zavros is an aesthete: he paints beautiful things beautifully. His subjects include fairytale palaces, gardens and follies: upmarket men's fashion, luxury cars and jewellery; Lipizzaner dressage horses, Japanese pedigree onagadori chickens and pretty boys. Zavros's subjects seem interchangeable; they are analogous to one another. For instance, his businessmen in bespoke suits and shiny shoes echo his over bred chickens with their extravagant, impractical tails. His subject's quality and classiness is also mirrored in his impeccable, refined, photo-realistic rendering of them.

It is often said that Zavros's subject is beauty itself, but it is, more generally, symbols of status. His canon of beauty is aspirational - keyed to notions of privilege, tradition and the faux-aristocratic taste of luxury brands. Zavros's work speaks to a desire for status, and therefore also to our fear of not having it - what television-philosopher Alain de Botton famously called 'status anxiety'. Consequently, Zavros has become a shibboleth. People either love him or loathe him, admire him or resent him. Those who love him think his work epitomises precisely what art should be (which is what they have or want, like and are); those who loathe him think it is everything art should not be (class, ideology). The strength and clarity of Zavros's project lies precisely in his ability to polarise his audience. By picking subjects that seem prime candidates for deconstruction and critique but not deconstructing or critiquing them, Zavros foregrounds and flaunts his lack of criticality.'1

1. Leonard, R.,'Charm Offensive', Art and Australia, vol. 49, no. 1, Spring, 2011, pp. 100-109