The Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center presents “Contemporary Treasures – Part II” a group show with Greek and international artists that are mainly concerned with notions of material culture in an era of constant doubt. The show aims to explore the correlations and contradictions that derive from the juxtaposition of works by artists of different conceptual backgrounds through the usage of various media (painting, installation, photograph).
The participating artists share common arguments regarding the nature of the work of art, the transmission of an idea through an object and the aesthetic value or non-value. The show combines works that blend the past with the future in a new spatial condition. The works either present a fictional situation or they draw up elements from real facts and constitute a comment on the notion of reality.
The latest work of Michael Bevilacqua sets out a series of almost abstract images with his usual references to post-punk bands. Bevilacqua uses spray paint in grey, black and silver tones as well as some bright colors to create a contradiction. The artist apart from his constant quest on matters regarding social issues, existential questions and the influence of music, seeks for beauty in everyday life and creates time capsules, a kind of cultural heritage for the future generations.
Savvas Christodoulides artistic gesture has the advantage of creating poetic and sentimental works by juxtaposing found objects or parts of objects and formulating sculptures with a “figurative” fragilité. The top part of the sculpture Untitled (gesture) is a woman’s head who covers her eyes with her hands in an attempt to block her glance. The other part of the sculpture consists of porcelain pieces emphasizing on the “ornamentum” and “decoramentum” elements of an art work.
Dora Economou’s objects and images constitute an illusory reality. The artist treats the ephemeral material in a unique way and creates a very personal narrative on the concept and process of sculpture. The ability of Economou to “:manipulate” her materials so successfully gives her the advance to play with forms and shapes constructing a fragile visual reality.
Maria Georgoula produces sculptures re-contextualizing simple and ephemeral materials like plaster, clay, tapes and found objects. The artist combines research on the subject/matter that she selects and then produces sculptures accumulating the various material into forms. Georgoula’s main concern is to examine the notion of knowledge and how this can be evolved, produced and developed according to the various data.
Dimitris Ioannou’s Free Appraisals consists of 51 lithographs from his family collection that are very difficult to be identified regarding their provenance, date and artist. Ioannou moves to a peculiar kind of appropriation by presenting this part of lithographs and installing them on a vivid yellow background that imitates the cheap edition of the gold color. Furthermore, he selects on purpose themes and images that are related to a kind of urban life and family issues as some of the lithographs are family portraits as well as images of natural landscapes.
The three works of Nikos Kessanlis date back to the ‘60s, when the artist started becoming more experimental with his work. In this case, Nikos Kessanlis used fabric and other natural material in attempt to formulate new ways of expression. This gesture gave to the paintings a different approach regarding materiality as the flat canvas is being transfigured to an object-like work. The characteristic of the works from this period, is the attempt of the artist to express a more spiritual and emotional state.
The collage of Caroline May refers to Heinrich Boll’s book The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum. Katharina Blum is a housekeeper whose life is ruined by an invasive tabloid reporter and a police investigation when the man with whom she has just fallen in love turns out to be wanted by the police. After being hounded by the press and the police, she shoots and kills the journalist who wrote the lies and distortions and has tried to exploit her sexually. The photograph of May is part of the Killing Pictures Series which mainly includes abandoned landscapes where time is quite absent and intangible.
Antonis Pittas in his installation A uses a quotation from an online version of The Guardian related to the protests and riots in Istanbul. Here Pittas attempts to “transfer” the idea of the public space inside the gallery’s white cube. The artist designs the phrase We’ve made our decision and we will do as we have decided using graphite on pieces of white marble. The artist translates the poster (standard sizes) shapes into sculptural objects and combines them with text fragments from news sites. The objects hypothetically could be taken up and rearranged by the viewers, which are turned into active participants of both the exhibition and the historical process.
Mason Saltarrelli uses a combination of found images – literally taken in the street or imaginary – and develops a cast of signs. His intention is to incorporate disparate styles and imagery into new narratives and invite the viewer to produce his own ideas and thoughts. Saltarelli as a painter uses canvas or paper that he usually moves the precious qualities of the paper giving to the material a rough surface. Saltarrelli has the “charisma” to produce works that move from pop culture to abstract expressionism including minimal forms.
Dimitris Tsoumplekas creates the JPG Poems Series since 2007, using various texts and authors. He makes his own synthesis and composes a new text emphasizing on specific notions and phrases. The video animation Classical is based on John Boardman’s Athens Red Figures Vases – The Classical Period a research on the red figure technique. Tsoumplekas abstracts words and phrases such as statue tied, rich in marble, the surviving, later in the century formatting a new text that leads to correlations regarding the social conditions of the contemporary era.
Alexandros Tzannis’s installations comprise ceramic works and large scale drawings. The artist, through the use of formalistic elements and painting, comments on the history of art and the notion of space and time. Tzannis re-contextualizes two traditional approaches related to craftsmanship (ceramics and painting) and produces works that create new spatial conditions. Especially in his drawings he presents the idea of a new “cosmos” that leads to more profound correlations connected to geometric forms and linear figures.