Paintings, 16/05/1994 – 04/06/1994
Sorry, this entry is only available in GR.
(Medusa, May 1994)
In her most recent show, Maria Grigoriadi sought to interpret human existence and its place in the cosmos, by transforming the particular character of contemporary life into a visual entity. The barely visible human figure is depicted trapped within a grid, which is at times more or less apparent. This compartmentalized space suggests the rationalism of modern society, from its way of thinking to its housing structures. Nonetheless, within the delineations on the pictorial surface she has created dynamic, multidimensional and expanded fields filled with concentrated energy. Here, forms move in an evolutionary course, for they haven’t yet crystallized into complete being with palpable presence.
The independence of the individual sections is conquered by rhythmic color repetition, a move which also counterbalances the chaotic sensation in the crowd of shapes. The musicality created by the rhythm of colors and shapes reveals the need for a different order, one more essential, based on the laws of harmony. However the distinct geometric shapes occupying a significant place in Grigoriadi’s work are an equal projection of geometry’s more profound order.
Her Brushstroke, with its emotional nuance and expressionistic character, suggest an attempt to draw upon childhood innocence – a need for more direct and honest communication. This is an insecure and uncertain gesture, by no means steady and unfaltering. The hand wavers as does emotion, desperate to reach the root of existence.
A conventional and compartmentalized world, absurdly “logical”, can be liberated through the gleam in a child’s eye, a dream and a desire. The vehicle of this desire, the human being, though broken in pieces, is present in Grigoriadi’s work. It is often a dismembered form, an ailing body having lost its complete form its sense of self, and its secure place in a familiar spiritual landscape. It is a disintegrated but also o struggling, combative im-age, tracing a dynamic movement within the chaos and the turbulence of the form, within a world searching for a paradise lost. For as poet William Blake notes, paradise is not a specific place but a state of sensory perception. With transparent colors, the luminosity emerging the painting surface as the cap-stone of multiple layers, and the density and weight of matter, the painter seeks to purify the gates of the senses.
On the other hand, the lightness and fluidity of the forms, with their distinctive tendency to rise convey a feeling of transcendence of the rectilinear confines. Behind these forms glimmers an oneiric world: one of circuses, amusement parks, games, freedom and flight.
Scripts and Imprints
With a liberated and determined visual gesture, Maria Grigoriadi intervenes by depositing on her surface the elisions of successive scripts, lines and form-bestowing shapes. In the manner of expression in which she selects and traces out unknown and forgotten aspects of the collective unconscious, she explores the processes by which we retrieve and review the models of the past as well as investigating the potential which her material affords for compositeness and resistance. That material is accentuated and given substance by means of a mixed technique and, in its syntactical structure, it creates a landscape of points and incidents of attraction for the routes which the eye can take.
For the sensitive observer of the interpretations of art, each work by Maria Grigoriadi could be said to present itself as a meta-history of multiple episodes which have become sediment and then strata so as to form different and successive planes. Sketches, strange marks of a hieroglyphic nature, traces, imprints and differing versions of the adventures which befall matter in time go to create associations with memories and events, with random and added facts, which co-exist with each other in an unexpected habitat of blends and sequences.
The script is direct, rapid and breathless. On other occasions, however, it is half worn away, abandoned, deficient and wounded by time, revealing the radiance of the dynamism it once had and of a statement which is now incomprehensible, like the transformation by mutation of a living organism which time has fossilized. The parallel existence and engagement of fractions of life and memory, of an imprint of imagined and emotional recall, create seals and reshapings of a kind which are activated by the spatial intensity and the depth of field which they define. As we look at the works of Maria Grigoriadi, we have the impression that we are traveling through space and time on a carpet of situations which conditions have converted into a mural. One plane succeeds or is diffused into the next, and the quantities of matter are transformed into qualities and vice versa. The texture is accentuated by light, shadows, relief and tonality. The tonality, in turn, is brought out by the location and structuring of colour and design material. Material is shaped by the dynamism of the charges borne by the tropism of the gesture. The gesture takes shape in the creative psycho emotional parameters which guide it, while the map of enigmatic incidents develops in a contrapuntal manner along axes which are sometimes horizontal and sometimes perpendicular. The axis varies according to the flexible and convertible points in the structural orientation and is made up of scripts which cannot be read and adventures which lead nowhere; lying as they do at vital points in the composition, they resemble suspended particles establishing dynamic balances. These particles, which function as relationships to mediate forms before they become images, project on to the eye the vibrancy of an awakening consciousness.
In the works of Maria Grigoriadi, we see a guileless, bold and vigorous mental world, one which reveals necessary destruction replaced by the appearance of the conditions for the fresh emergence of form as the image becomes progressively more and more complete. That image has not taken shape, since it is being incubated by the diffuse energy released by the rhythmic co-ordination of the elemental units of which it is composed. Those units take the form of molecules, sub-divisions and articulations of an act and a script which is overthrown because it is reborn, just like creatures in nature. The light, sometimes explosive and sometimes low-toned, radiates periodicity and the character of an internal determinism as it wells up out of colour - the transparency and density which give depth and timeless substance to the momentary emission of the living colour. Consequently, light, matter, colour and form, as a single and indivisible pattern, lay out a labyrinth of traffic signs through which the eye can travel as dialectical question-marks appear for the viewer.
Any lyrical intention is suspended or moderated by the broad handling of the matiere and by the aggressiveness, even violence, of the brush-stroke used to apply the paint. The childlike, apparently guileless drawing, covered by a veil of forgetfulness, is reactivated through its enhancement by new and catalytic devices, random events and roles which are structurally synthetic, like the dark, clear scars of old wounds on the body of the material which is being transformed as it constantly changes shape without ever stabilizing. This is the material of script and image before they became divided and fell from heaven. That is the landscape of space and time to which the works of Maria Grigoriadi lead us - the time when material whose synthesis is composed in the way which this artist demonstrates functioned as a timeless dimension, and now, when it presents itself as a palimpsest map through elapsing time. The map is one of reductions, showing what strike us as self-propelled beings moving perpetually, covering and exploring distances - the distances between the worlds of the psyche and the universe at the moment at which the visual gesture unites them without abstracting anything from their difference.
Art critic and historian