What Lies Hidden Remains Unfamiliar
Manolis Daskalakis-Lemos, Zoi Gaitanidou, Stelios Karamanolis, Maria Kriara, Panayiotis Loukas, Tula Plumi, Diamantis Sotiropoulos, Yorgos Stamkopoulos, Lefteris Tapas, Pavlos Tsakonas, Michalis Zacharias
11 Leonidou,ground floor
from left to right Michalis Zacharias, Tula Plumi
from left to right Tula Plumi, Lefteris Tapas
from left to right Maria Kriara, Zoi Gaitanidou
Manolis Daskalakis Lemos
The show examines the hidden elements that constitute life, the awakening of repulsed fears or primitive beliefs. It investigates and questions sites, forms and perceived notions that contribute on shaping our perception of reality. It challenges inhibited urges perceived as a blurred line between safety and threat. The out of the view of the daily functioning. Fear, myth, science fiction, memory, cinema, tradition, the human and the inhuman, that which appears both real and unreal, attractive and repulsive.
Sigmund Freud developed the notion of “das Unheimliche”/ “the Uncanny” a concept which remains central to this show and can be understood in reference to an occasion where something can simultaneously be familiar, yet foreign at the same time, resulting in a feeling of it being uncomfortably strange or uncomfortably familiar. Such is the woman in Michalis Zacharias’ work, an imposing nude from the sci-fi erotic movie UltraFlesh, that stars a female alien who comes to earth to save the planet by curing its men of impotence. The work is drawn digitally and is composed by thousands of xxx, a mark that is extensively used for pornographic films to indicate “extra strong” material and in IT communication to warn other programmers of a problematic or misleading code.
Yorgos Stamkopoulos is dealing with the constant presence of the unknown through abstract paintings that constitute landscapes of an inner vision, meditative works referring to existence and characterized by temporality, melancholy, anticipation and energy. There is nothing predictable or strictly pre-planned about them. Full of bright, bold color contrasts, his works become 'spiritual landscapes’ that come in conflict with the natural inclination of the human mind towards order and measure. They open a window into a world full of sensations and challenge the viewer to contemplate towards more metaphysical concepts that lie outside the realm of consciousness.
Tula Plumi exhibits sculptural objects from the Lines and Circles series that demonstrate experimentations on the school’s “exercises on materials” and “exercises in color”. As Wassily Kandinsky, characteristically argues “every color -like every shape- has its proper expressionist value and for that it is possible to create meaningful realities without representing objects.” The sculptures are exhibited along a photograph.
The word canny originates from the Anglo-Saxon root ken which translates as “knowledge, understanding, or cognizance; A mental perception, an idea beyond one's ken.” Maria Kriara creates elaborate drawings with pencil on paper that manifest her own vision of a Warburgian Atlas. She draws images that could constitute a kind of Wunderkammer, a drawn collection of images that both individually and combined have an uncomfortably familiar and unfamiliar feeling.
History cannot simply be conceived in terms of past events, narratives and occurrences but also and primarily, as it relates to the present. The way we accumulate history unquestionably shapes the way we understand reality. But whose History are we talking about? What does it mean to us? And how is it formed? Stelios Karamanolis paints awkward moments from the past forcing us to a re-evaluation of that story. Here, he paints an army officer that sits like a scared child and reminds us nothing of a brave moment in battle, while his color pallet creates a mysterious atmosphere that evokes a more private moment, a dreamy, even a metaphysical one.
Lefteris Tapas continues his philosophical search of the ‘real’ through a large-scale wall piece from his Garden series. Made up of twenty four separate parts, the artist detaches pieces out of an otherwise unbreakable totality that is nature and takes us into a world that looks more like if we are witnessing a shadow theater of a forest through a lens or a magnifying glass, than an accurate reconstruction of a natural site with characteristic vegetation. Tapas’ Shadow Theater is not a window to nature but rather a glimpse into a secretly hidden world.
According to Anais Nin “it is a sign of great inner insecurity to be hostile to the unfamiliar”. Zoi Gaitanidou employs the technique of drawing, cutting and sewing to create tapestry-like canvases that unfold an apocalyptic narrative of a mysterious tribe of humanoids whose world is significantly altered after an encounter with some weird alien-like creatures. Yet, the tribe does not seem scared or threatened to be around them but demonstrate a rather uncanny sense of balance and peace.
Pavlos Tsakonas references to industrial, urban and science fiction environments and exhibits a dark colorful object that resembles a comet or a stone. His works are meticulously cut in wood and painted in every detail and aim to create a new optical reality that plays with the illusion of 3dimensionality, light, space and movement and tries to trigger the visitors’ curiosity, marvel or surprise.
The work of Diamantis Sotiropoulos stands outside one's familiar knowledge or perception and presents us with a group of uncanny creatures from the world of fantasy. The drawings from the Punishment series he exhibits here carry descriptive often humorous titles and are displayed to be viewed as a group of characters that make up a mysterious narrative.
Panayiotis Loukas moves also along the lines of fantasy or even horror-like storytelling and creates a personal mythology that illustrates a series of dead painters. Drawn in great detail, his works consist all the details that build a story and invite the viewer to explore everything that seems hidden or unfamiliar. In his works things we find more terrifying appear that way because they once seemed familiar and are now brought up by an uncanny pose or incident.
Last but not least, Manolis Daskalakis-Lemos‘ work exposes traces left in time that create a memory archive able to take us from the specific to the general and vice versa. His work consists of a text, a photograph of the animal cemetery of the Athens College and a found portrait of one of the dogs that is buried there. His work often deals with site-specific paradigms and an image-historical approach that explores Presence in what appears to be Absence, and questions the ways we record, organize or memorialize.