“Changes”,18/01/1995 – 25/02/1995, Medusa+1 Art Gallery
Medusa+1 Art Gallery
18 Janyary – 25 February 1995
Eleftherotypia, January 1995
Adhering to painting
There are a thousand reason to lead us to the conclusion that painting, pure painting, has died, and another thousand indications that it remains fresh and lively despite its age.
In any case, dogmas are forced to recede before anyone with a clear mind, irrespective of one’s deeper preferences; they will not flourish for long, anyway, no matter what arguments they employ in order to persuade.
Two young but not newly-appearing painters, exhibiting at downtown galleries, declare their adherence to painting and to the personal and arduous search for an expression through the traditional painterly media, following the experience from observing the works of modernism.
They practise painting with the parallel intention of defining space both on and off the canvas.
More extrovert, Zouni (Medusa +1 Gallery) proceeds to enlarge the circular or curved organism, the primary cell which she desires to see first within the world of the canvas and thence to the broader world.
Zouni works with wood, a material with its own life and colour, which she respects and allows to show here and there, thus creating forms and existing as both chromatic value and relationship between empty and full.
An other issue which Zouni is interested in and shares with the viewer is the relationship between the inside and the outside of the work, as is clearly visible in her treatment of an external wall which she makes visible from the window, in the way she places a drawing. A spatial landscape in space.
In the work of Eleni Zouni, images are generated like idols of the rhythms of an existing but invisible life inherent both in the physical makeup of human beings and in that of the universe. What Zouni is mainly seeking in her painting is to transform form into a representation of life, The two-dimensional surfaces on which oval, spiral and linear shapes appear as protagonists in a performance are used only as a diaphragm, a pretext to mark off, every so often, an alternative distance from which formless life can be viewed. The subject of change in Eleni Zouni's present work appears essentially to refer to the differing distances from a stable but invisible state which is as real as are the changes that occur in the perceived, visible environment within the flow of history.
With her strengthened conviction in the quest for the essence contained in every act, Eleni Zouni chooses to approach art as the pre-eminent instrument by which primary forms of discourse and writing are conveyed to the field of creation. Thus, the act of painting becomes an area of intellectual activity where the recording of the elemental creates the enigma. It suggests rather than stating. It imbues space rather than inhabiting it. Throughout her visual journey, Eleni Zouni maintains silence rather than clamorous description. She produces α strange world, intentionally removed from every familiar reference. Persistently, for the past five years or so, she reveals that the solitariness of every primary form is also a passing moment in time. The fundamental field of the intellect gives birth unceasingly. The monads which travel over the surfaces of her frames, emblems of a primary writing and form, are cells of life. They seem to augur the mutation of their own form and are lifted as heralds of the endless reproduction of life for the sake of life itself. Their ontological significance has no rationalized point of reference nor are they products of the surrealist vocabulary of the objective world. They exist as an enigma, as they were yesterday, and have been for many millennia now.
From the point of view of modern aesthetic theory, a great number of questions are being raised today about the loss of the enigmatic codes of communication within our society. The validity of mythmaking, with the author being the artist of contemporary life, is strongly disputed. We are living in an age in which the discourse of art is expressed ever more sarcastically in a dazzling crescendo. Multiple forms of expression deliberately suppress the mythmaking capacity of the artistic act, underscoring with extreme passivity the fact that the codes of behavior of social policy and artistic production are identical, The artist is incapable of competing with the multiple and ephemeral myths manufactured in quantities by the society, which aim primarily to make the individual dependent on an enormous mechanism for the production of material paradise and hell. Artists exposed to their social environment and to its standardized image, appear immune to the experiences created by the direct and unmediated relationship between nature and fundamental social structures. The question arises therefore of whether the art produced during the era of technocratic predominance, of planned world events, is able to become the intermediary for conveying sensitivity to the field of unaltered and stable values which are still contained within the primitive forms and behaviors of human civilization
. For decades now, this possibility has been repeatedly disputed. With pain and manifest nostalgia for a lost paradise, men and women engaged in the spiritual quest in art and poetry investigate and articulate this weakness, while at the same time never ceasing anxiously to search out every trace, every shred of evidence of the lost reality. Contemporary man, shaped by technological progress as the potential creator of all knowledge, is becoming increasingly remote from the experience of the unknown. But, despite this apparently unbridgeable chasm, the inherent need of individuals to experience the vast and enigmatic cannot be, nor will it ever be, eliminated. They keep seeking to experience the primary, even though they understand that now it is just a collection of adulterated memories, a truth which, with spare honesty and profound intelligence, the great explorer of human culture Claude Levi-Strauss set out in "Tristes Tropiques". Facing the oversized, primary units of Eleni Zouni's mythography, drawn in ink on wood, which displace any form of natural space which can surround them, becoming themselves the field of doubt and enigma, standing opposite the flows of colour on the wooden surfaces which follow the natural texture of the wood, we recognize the mental and physical world of the artist proceeding together in a balanced way. The journey of Eleni Zouni on her wooden frames, guided by doubt, opens out onto a vast world, promising the revelation of a distant source of origin. As a song accompanying this journey, one might hear an excerpt from the great work of the visionary explorer who says: "Voyages, magic chests with deceptive promises, will never give up their treasures intact. A culture constantly increasing and becoming more intense has upset the silence of the seas forever. The fragrances of the Tropics and the primitive grace of human beings have been corrupted in a cause with doubtful results which deadens our desires and condemns us to collecting only adulterated memories (C.L-S. "Tristes Tropiques", Ch. IV "The Search for Power", while below it intersects with the thoughts of Chateaubriand about man who "carried within him a world composed of everything he has been and loved and to which he returns ceaselessly, while at the same time he runs through and seems to reside in a strange world" (Travels in Italy, 11/12). It is within this endless intersection of the many bref and multiple, briefland long voyages that Eleni Zouni's thought also moves.
Through "Changes" we recognize that this strange world, which belongs equally to an untouchable past and an inconceivable future, while at the same time occupying a large part of our reflections and deeper desires in each distinct historic age, also constitutes our present. A present which in her work concentrates everything in the One. Is it a question of selecting distance? Eleni Zouni gives a convincing reply. A true artist, she manages to experience the present through the "lost freedom" of choice of distance.