Mare Monstrum

09 Mar 2016 - 04 Apr 2016

Mare Monstrum

9.03 – 4.04/2016

This exhibition is held under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Maria Giannakaki presents at Skoufa Gallery in Athens 19 new works which she created from the beginning of last summer until the eve of the exhibition, with subject matter the despair of people at the mercy of the sea. Her starting point being two monumental compositions by Géricault and Delacroix who treated this subject matter in the 19th century, Maria Giannakaki depicts today, through her personal artistic idiom, the image of the refugees on boats. Under the pun of the exhibition’s title, mare nοstrum-mare monstrum, her works concern the painful reality of a sea which no longer is the shared bosom of the Mediterranean. Maria Giannakaki’s attempt does not constitute a political or a humanitarian statement but a deeply painterly act, which has the power to shake with aesthetic emotion the way we see the, unfortunately, familiar image of refugees in the water. Children, which are a basic element of her iconography for years now, her well known love for paper and silk, her Sino-Japanese sense of graphism, together with the Western intensity of the autonomy of colour, create here complexes of human figures which float in painterly seas of bright red and Prussian blue and are rescued in thermal blankets of gold leaf. Maria Giannakaki’s dreamlike images fight against the tragicness of the subject they deal with by devoting to human pain the beauty of painting.

A fully illustrated, bilingual (Greek-English) catalogue will be published on the occasion of the exhibition, kindly sponsored by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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