In the exhibition a plot twist that everyone missed, Dimitra Vamiali presents a new body of work from the last two years, consisting of paintings on linen, a series of works on paper and a small-scale installation.
As in all her previous works, the artist, creates an environment that incorporates a variety of me-dia, creating layered stories that move between reality, constructions of the imagination and the path of art itself. A real event or research finding is often the starting point for these narratives. In essence, she tries to transfer ideas, thoughts, images and emotions from the inner world to the outer world and vice versa. A plethora of different visual and conceptual elements and gestures ultimately create an environment with a scenic presence, where the charm of decay, the vibran-cy of pop, geometric rigidity, combined with miniature and small scale, coexist.
Adopting a narrative tool of literature, the plot twist – the transference according to Aristotle – Vamiali unfolds a familiar visual vocabulary to set all the ramifications for telling a story, drawing on individual memory, collective mythology, the imaginary and reality. She draws on the visual references of the past to explore new possibilities for the future.
In her painting she creates a complex of images in which the central figure, the protagonist and the hero, the ruler and the dominant is absent. Everything is rendered in a horizontal alignment and arrangement where each element occupies the same space equally on the canvas. The re-sult does not foreshadow the outcome of the plot, since it is the many stories within the story that count. The supporting elements with which the great masters of academic painting usually frame their subject and which are of lesser importance – a fabric, a background, a garment, a sketch – take the lead here. By combining many different embodiments in her work, she creates a con-stant oscillation between different points of reference. The ellipticality of the information acts as a catalyst, whispering a poignant commentary on abstraction and the principles of minimalism, un-derscoring the narrative and staged nature of each work.
Fishing from a wide range of sources and references and relating the contemporary to the histor-ical, Vamiali appropriates details and disconnected elements from different periods of art, and even from her own earlier works. She focuses her interest in decay, the second generation, loss, absence, the human condition as opposed to perfection and the principles of early conceptual art, which has been her field of reference until now, bridging the two aspects, the logical and the absurd, the rational and the paradoxical.
According to James Joyce “There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present”. An abstract narrative, an apparent abstraction, a cryptic fragment of language, a phrase, a geo-metric shape, a pattern, a texture, they all float in a void, outside of any previous conceptual framework, in this eternal present. This is where past, present and future meet. A space of pos-sibilities with emotional fluctuations is created, a space where imaginary alternative universes and polarities simulating reality coexist.
Vamiali is a “collector” of phrases; she approaches her subject as if she were telling a story with gaps, fragments and hints. She always follows the same logic; just as she places objects in space in her installations, she also places the individual painting elements on paper or canvas. Avoiding a linear narrative with a beginning, middle and end, she allows for a logical inconsisten-cy and contradiction (absurdism). By expanding and reshaping these fragments, she creates del-icate and detailed works in which the thin line between modernism and representation is perme-able. And although everything seems to fit into place, when these elements come together they become allegories, that reinforce the density and complexity of the narrative.
*The phrase “Ay, now the Plot thickens very much upon us.” first appeared in the play “The Rehearsal” by George Villiers in 1671.