Christina Papaioannou and Yassonas Megoulas invite us to time travels.
Christina’s works are called “Aphrodite’s Dream”, “The Fable of the Orange” or “The Tale of the Unbreakable Jar”. They tell stories that reach from the past, through the present, and into the future. Nourished from their cultural and artistic roots, from Greek dramas, comedies, mythologies. Viewers are immersed in colorful collages that tell micro-stories with the most diverse formatting. To be discovered are a multitude of different origins for the compositions that demand to delve into the images to perceive contexts, the whole. She uses pixels, shows botanical motifs, animals, ancient Greek architecture, Renaissance engravings, children’s drawings, and references to her own other work. Digital manipulation of the images creates new structures that are manually applied to the canvas. A reuse of pre-existing data takes place, returning them to material reality.
“I thus explore the role of painting in the digital age. By creating dynamic paintings with luminous colors built through fragmentation, individual micro-stories as well as moments of pure abstraction.”
From abstract landscapes to scenes reminiscent of video games, Christina’s paintings play with the boundaries between the familiar and the unexpected, while an underlying sense of whimsical moods lurks behind the brushstrokes. These playful scenarios are formulated in an uncoded language that invites the viewer to interpret them from scratch, it is much like a psychological exploration. The human body in an aesthetic reformulation of its figure also finds a contemporary interpretation in Christina’s works. It tells of departure, deconstruction, and freedom. Just as new media in connection with, familiar to us, old Greek elements speak to us in a new formal language and lead these elements into the contemporary understanding of art of a new generation.
This series of works presented by Yassonas Megoulas at AG18 is a tribute to his grandfather. He undertakes a personal journey through time and explores own family roots. He has painted from photos that the grandfather left as a undeveloped material, a convolute of negatives and that Yassonas found by chance in the house of his ancestors during the Covid quarantine.
The grandfather, a doctor and researcher, had a passion for photography. He had died before Yassonas was born. His photos offered the grandson an opportunity to approach his grandfather, his mother’s father, and his perception of the world, history and family heritage. “The photos awakened in me the desire to capture them with my own rhythm and my own passion, which is in the field of painting.”
His grandfather, a native of France, was a busy and widely traveled explorer. In the 1930s, he advanced to become director of the Pasteur Institute in Athens. His photos show his particular love of the Greek landscape, legendary antiquities, myths and archetypes. “Something I had probably unconsciously inherited, and which in recent years has become the theme of my work.”
Megoulas was not concerned with depicting the photographs realistically. “Photo-realism” is not his metier. In painting, “realism” would be selection, interpretation, own representation, thus more pretense of reality than documentation. He, on the other hand, wants to perceive and express emotions, with his representation and nuances, with the design of surfaces, shapes and colors. “My guiding principle was the exclusive use of the five colors that characterize all my work: a borrowing from modern Greek painting of the previous century, Byzantine art and the natural light of the Mediterranean sky – gold, white, gray, blue and black.”
Yassonas Megoulas is a multifaceted designer. An internationally renowned painter of murals as well as paintings on canvas and paper, a creator of sculptures, a photographic artist and a filmmaker.
In this exhibition 11 paintings are presented together with 21 photographs of his grandfather. These photographs are printed on paper for the first time, 90 years after they were taken.