Maria Giannakaki

Spring in Winter

22.10 - 14.11.2020


 

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*See the exhibition catalogue here https://issuu.com/skoufagallery/docs/maria_giannakaki_exhibition_catalogue_2020

 

let’s take off our clothes, my love; our naked flesh shall be tangled, like the stalks of the wild bindweed.*

 

As part of a sacred ritual, where sexual act is deified in the lush nature, Maria Giannakaki composes a hymn to love. This highly sensitive artist gave birth to her most daring pieces of work within anexplosion of color and revealed the true nature of lovemaking without any sophistication and melodrama.

The body parts are woven like branches made of flesh in a way that only the act of lovemaking can canonize, while the facial expressions bloom in pleasure. Giannakaki’s love couples are neither ethereal, nor idealized; they are earthy and draw from the same sexual impulse with which the seed sprouts from the earth. The artist is not interested in a voyeuristic rendering of the act of love; she witnesses an undisclosed series of fantasies, memories, and obsessions wafting allusively through the bodies.

The facial expressions at times loosened, ecstatic or hedonically immersed, are realistically crafted, without any filtering. The dominant figures are the female faces that set the tone, while the intensity of the bodies, often, vibrates from the color that flows on canvas. Especially in this section, Giannakaki’s boldness is accented by using for the first time in her palette colors such as green and pink.

 Her method of painting is characterized with the same decisiveness. She proceeds with subtracting and instead of adding to the background, she erases or removes from the surface. However, it is not the chaos that prevails, but the order of it. Her figures are built in a way that the one is immersed to the other in an artistic pairing. The color does not distract the viewer’s gaze, but instead, embraces the work in its entirety like a mellow aura.

Giannakaki is a unique example of an artist in our visual arts. She can combine Bonnard’s sensitivity and use of hedonic colors within the Sino-Japanese tradition, which she has served. She follows the balance of tone, according to the principle of Chinese art, but she uniquely enhances it with expressionist elements from Western painting.The erotic art in her work is not treated as a graceful process, but as a means of expressing a blind, instinctive will. The insatiable search for love is not a biological function or a lyrical ripple, but a hard process of understanding the incomprehensible life. Her love encounters are rough and violent. Moaning ones, not accompanied with the harmonic lyre. The scenes she depicts are not morally ambiguous, but they represent the most convincing way to define the erotic desire, the excitement of the moment, and the culmination of passion.

Giorgos Mylonas, Art Historian

Translated by Fotini Petroleka

* Poem by Philetas of Samos. Adaptation in English. Translation in modern Greek by Sotiris Kakisis.

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