"mnemotechnics of the self"
ART EXHIBITION - WHB
From 25.05.2014 to 08.06.2014
Opening saturday 24.05.2014 20:00
Wednesday & Friday 17:00 - 21:00
Saturday & Sunday 12:00 - 19:00
[Whithin the context of organizing solo exhibitions WHITE HOUSE BIENNIAL - a project by Nicos Charalambidis -
presents Maria Papacharalambous’ work].
Spanning a broad range of the artist’s body of paintings from 1991 to date, Mnemotechnics of the Self, an exhibition by the Cypriot visual artist Maria Papacharalambous on the participatory platform White House Biennial at Open C.A.S.E. 303, comprises an array of selected works in a unified painting installation set.
Celebrating the supremacy of the visual media and ‘authenticity’ of writing, Papacharalambous’ paintings should not be considered in the context of a formalistic approach, whereby the work is projected as a surface for contemplation by art connoisseurs. ‘Painterly’ though they might be, yet these works do not seek to be perceived as representations, as objects of aesthetic exploration. On the contrary, they can be characterized as an instant response (rather than expression), a kind of breathing that, though insignificant and imperceptible, is what keeps us alive. Bestowing colour on what seems like existential deadlock, these ‘survival drills’ must be interpreted as a counterforce against the prevailing climate of contemporary nihilism.
Painting (art) is now enriched by the leftovers of life, which take on new utility in a kind of poietic recycling. Aided by the use of unusual materials (such as stale bread), the gestural visual narrative meets posters and magazine clippings, producing a distinctive artistic archive of scraps of meaning and allusions. These works convey a most playful and light approach to art (inspired by Nietzsche’s ‘gay science’ as the priority of life itself), a stance vis-à-vis life that is manifested in Papacharalambous’ series of paintings entitled Here and There (2010). Children’s toys are pasted on the canvas, while a dab of raw paint – serving as a poignant reminder of heroic past eras of painting, such as the pompous abstract lyricism of Tachism, in the 1950s and 1960s – communicates the goal of these works: to restore lost innocence in the creative process.
In this respect, a possible classification of the artist’s work as naïve, art brut, informel even, fails to convey much about their meaning. Similarly, exploring Papacharalambous’ cinematic writing in her sometimes poetic and sometimes childishly innocent videos would reveal nothing with respect to their raison d’être and goal. When the canvas becomes a pillow for dreaming (as in a series of works from 2012 on for instance), then visual art itself becomes a practice reminiscent of a playful oneiromancy. Similarly, such a tongue-in-cheek handling of the visual media does in fact confirm what the artist cites as the fundamental origin of her practice: ‘I see everything as painting!’ A painterly vision of the factical world as a whole is the motivation behind this multifaceted work by Papacharalambous, in which the alchemic alteration of the material (for instance the transubstantiation of water, or of pigment) into thought meets the morphing of words and thoughts into visual material – a concept that also informs another recent project by Papacharalambous on the participatory platform White House Biennial, entitled Noesis-Alchemy-Metallaxis (2014).