June 1997

Vania Kokolodimitraki

Living with art

A sparse décor and natural lighting make up the ideal setting for the artworks in the house of Maria Demetriades in Paros.

Some people are so much in love with their work that they bring it into their homes. This is what happened with Maria Demetriades, one of the youngest gallery owners on our art scene. The “Medusa” gallery of Kolonaki has been exhibiting works by established artists since 1979, but above all she tries to promote younger practitioners who represent her own generation. This was why she went on to create “Medusa+1”, a movement for ’extra-gallery’ art events in which the artists themselves have a hand in creating the artistic setting on each occasion.
When she bought an old olive mill at the picturesque villages of Lefkes, Paros in 1985, she began to adapt it to her requirements little by little. She wanted the exterior not to betray what was inside, and at the same time not to clash with the island’s traditional architecture. So the stone on the outside has been left visible around the white wooden windows which allow the Aegean sunlight into the interior. The inside has a surprise in store for visitors; the open, un-partitioned space hosts the sitting room, the bedroom, a guestroom and the kitchen.
“I wanted the gaze to stop nowhere”, explains Maria Demetriades, who has deliberately created a gallery-like house with marble floors and exposed masonry. As for the decoration, it is clearly dictated by the owner’s passion for art. “I cannot live without it”, she admits, and thus the few pieces of modern Italian furniture support the dynamic presence of sculptures, constructions and paintings. Accomplished artists like Takis, but also younger creators such as Tastsioglou, Rorris, Dimitrakis, Raymondos and Gyparakis, among others, contribute their works to this special artistic environment. But the owner’s own artistic talent is also evident. The bathroom sink is a sculpture made to her own design, while the metal strainers she brought from Morocco have become lighting fixtures throughout the house, illuminating the space in an original, sensual way.