Project Description

Nitra Gallery presents the 30th solo show of Irini Gonou. The artist’s recent interest has evolved around the element of writing; writing as image, symbol and talisman. In this new body of work, Irini Gonou maintaining her practice, this time is particularly interested in the concept of vulnerability.

Vulnerability is conceived as fragility, as something that can be easily destroyed, as a frail state, sensation, or emotion and this element of “weakness” is often fertile ground for the Arts.

“Vulnerability” is the primary reason for the invention of the talisman. Apotropaic objects and talismans, chants and incantations, are only some of the myriads of timeless methods used to ward off the “evil”. Considered as empowering objects protecting from what could be menacing to hurt us, they are a timeless refuge in the domain of the supernatural.

The written word itself is considered a talisman and characters are forceful in themselves as amulets. This unique characteristic of the writing has been observed in Islamic and Sub-Saharan traditions as well as in many other cultural areas, endowing objects with apotropaic, protective and healing qualities.

In Irini Gonou’ s group of works namely “apotropaic cloths”, “eilitaria”(scrolls) and “fylachta”(amulets), poetry takes the place of chants, incantations or other magical words associating to the Art the therapeutic properties of writing.

*Lest we forget how fragile we are…, from the song “Fragile” by Sting

Irini Gonou
Born in Athens, Irini Gonou graduated from the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts and from the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, where she lived for eleven years. She has shown her artwork in thirty solo exhibitions in Greece, France, Belgium, Germany, UK, USA and Norway. Her solo exhibition Al-Khatt, the magic script on 2009 was held in the Museum of Islamic Arts in Athens. What is more, she has participated in a numerous group exhibitions in Greece and abroad. Her artwork is included in several Museum collections, Municipal Galleries, private Museums and Foundations, as well as to a variety of important private collections in Greece and abroad. She lives and works in Athens and teaches regular workshops on the Mediterranean Scripts in the Museum of Islamic Arts of Athens.