TACHYDROMOS December 1986

December 1986

Tina Politi

Women celebrities advise on style and charm

Maria Demetriades
“Women’s asset is their brains”

She is the youngest gallery owner in Athens. Maria Demetriades. Medusa. At thirteen she decided she would go into art. And since she could not practise painting, she said she was going to set up a gallery for painters and other visual artists. At nineteen, she did. Today, “Medusa” is seven years old, has had its successes and is run by a beautiful young woman with a strong personality and a halo of beautiful rich hair, like a Medusa. Maria is a fascinating person. She lives in a setting that suits her, surrounded by contemporary art. Yet Maria does not know how to advise on charm. She uses a torrent of words to tell us what attracts her, and hence what she considers attractive for others, too. Maria has her own way of putting things…

Medusa was a mythological monster. A monster that attracts and conquers from a distance. She meets evil people with ugly souls and turns them into stone. Medusa avenges us for years. She looks like a fairy everyone would love to have at home. For years and years Medusa dominated the seas as a gorgon and lived in harmony with the sea bottom. Today, she is a woman and lives in Athens. Attractive and somewhat distant. You will often see her walking swiftly in Deinokratous St in the mornings and afternoons, or surrounded by artworks somewhere in Xenokratous St. Her name starts with an Μ, but reads Maria. Her father’s name is Demetriades, and all this resulted in Medusa-Maria Demetriades. To Medusa-Maria Demetriades the eyes are very important, so she doesn’t offer advice. She always speaks in the first person singular, and is inundated by images all day long.

“There is attraction in all those things that attract me”, she says, and continuous to pour out a torrent of short phrases:

I am fascinated by Takis [the sculptor]. Candles at noon. Quinces. Brains and schizophrenia. Solid-colour sheets. Interviews. “Medusa”. The black colour. The basement of Emilia. Egypt. Last year’s Christmas. My round dining table. The magazine. Ratka [the restaurant], when I’m not paying. The Japanese. Bang & Olufsen. Unfiltered Gauloises. Silk underwear. Money. Charming women. The Beatles. Spaghetti. “Medusa”. The Rome I never visited. Yachts. Paros. Sleep. My father’s boat. White Rolls-Royces. My white SUV. Red Porsches. Stormy love affairs. The monochromes of Yannis Dimitrakis. Red roses. Art collectors. Museums. Warehouses. “Medusa”. New York. Kenya. Wonderful male hands. The men who don’t resist me. The piano. “Medusa”. The State of Things by Wenders. Dustin Hoffman. Jack Nicholson in The Postman Always Rings Twice. Cathleen Turner. Bodybuilding. Thessaloniki. Haig whisky. The neon works of Nikos Tziotis. Cheeses. Money. Private aircraft. Horses. Tigers. Terror. Attraction. Empty walls. One week with Harold Stevenson. The reflections of Marianna Strapatsaki. The bottle of Coca-Cola. Cavafy. Eating FAGE yogurt in London. Venice. Dreams. Fortune-tellers. The parties I give. My name-day. Gold. Ship decks. Beautiful backs. The giants of fairy tales. The life of Alice. Empty houses. Numbers. Seven. Casinos. Applause. Bacon, El Greco. The magnetic jewellery of Takis. Diamonds—the bigger the better. The one who offers all this. Those who make excuses for me. Alsatian dogs. Mirrors. The sea. The smell of bodies. “Medusa”. Repetition. Little bottles in the bathroom. Murders. Gangsters. Boutaris’s Lac des Roches wine. Costume jewellery. Teatrale clothes. Street shows. Zoe Laskari. Her husband. The galleries of Xenokratous St. The fancy-dress parties of Dimitris Pierides. The carnival of Rio, on television. Late nights out. Open markets. Maria Demetriades. I am on my own, but at least I think and I am fascinated all the time…

Among all these things, what would you say is the source of your own attraction?

Is it me who exerts attraction or “Medusa”—art, the personality of each artist, the changes, the adventure, the collectors, the space, the young people? If you placed me in an accounting office, would there be charm? Would you be interested in talking about attraction with a 120kg girl? I would certainly be like that, unless I loved math…

You said you are on your own. You often hear that from women whose credentials should preclude it. What is your impression of the men around you?

I find them all handsome—if they were a little smarter, I’d find them even more handsome.

And the women?

They have an asset—their cleverness. If they could use it, they would reign supreme once again.

How do you dress?

I am at a loss when I go shopping, but I like to invent.

What is your dream as a young woman?

To manage to make this mundane life more interesting.


Through art—how else…?