Danil studied under Konstantinos Parthenis and obtained a scholarship from the Greek government to study in Paris. There, he completed most of his works, heavily inspired by the revolutionary atmosphere of May ’68. He was a friend and a collaborator to art critic Pierre Restany, who introduced the artistic movement of Nouveau Réalisme - the thoughtful European response to the cheerful frivolity of American Pop Art. Witty, introverted and dedicated to his uncompromising quest, Danil left behind a collection of works that became a landmark of his era. The importance of his art surpasses the geographical limits of Greece and can be compared to some of the emblematic moments of the postwar European avant-garde. For Danil, great art is born when aesthetic need becomes a societal need. Indicative of Danil’s artistic greatness is the fact that he, as well as his loyal companion Vlassis Caniaris,
lived and worked parallel to many influential and powerful artistic currents (Arte Mécano, Arte Povera, Art Informel, Minimalisme, and the Supports/Surfaces collective), yet never completely adhering to any of them, firmly insistent on artistic independence. From early on, Danil broke away from the constraints posed by narrative representation and claimed the three-dimensional space through a series of works that defied all representational conventions. Using cheap materials like cardboard boxes, rags, wood and, later, burlap fabric, the artist managed to create a world which, through its handmade clarity, resisted the dominant structures of overconsumption, overproduction, and mass industrialization. A rationalist and strict materialist, Danil was suspicious of any kind of metaphysical ‘escape’. Nevertheless, he managed, through his later works, to touch on the limits of artificial and natural light (?), creations that, without transcendental references, still feel sacred and foreboding. Contrary to everyone else, Danil, from his earliest all the way to his latest works, from his temperas as an apprentice to his evocatively abstract compositions of the ‘80s, deals with light not through the realm of visual arts, but through ontology. Ex nihilo, he creates light as a material and simultaneously a highly spiritual conquest. The artist uses light as a spatial premise, producing it as if he were an engineer, excavating it as if he were an archaeologist, and birthing it through the shadows. He does so in a way that overcomes the limitations of the material wall on which the works rely, rendering the wall not as the end of the artwork’s world, but as the beginning of a different world entirely. He belongs to those special artists - like Marcel Duchamp - who relied on the participation of the informed viewer for the artwork to achieve its full potential of completeness, not in the spectator’s eyes, but in the spectator’s mind. Danil was a pioneer of light, but not in the way that the Impressionists or the Fauvists, who he greatly admired, were. Neither was he a light pioneer in the illusionistic, Renaissance aesthetic sense, but in a transcendental manner that connected Byzantine mysticism to Kazimir Malevich. Danil possessed a controlled method - a la Cézanne - which results in almost irrational conclusions of a visual apocalypsis (révélation) about the light that creates space or, rather, the light that allows space to exist.