Rania Emmanouilidou | Aikaterini Gegisian | Vangelis Gkokas | Maria Ikonomopoulou | Mantalina Psoma | Anastasis Stratakis
Hypnagogia derives from the Greek words for “sleep” and “guide”, describing the transition period between wakefulness and sleep; a gray zone where the conscious gives its place to the unconscious, making it an interesting field for neuroscience research. Hypnagogia often associated with unleashing waves of creativity and clarity has been a favorite stage for many artists and scientists from Thomas Edison to Edgar Allen Poe, Vladimir Nabokov to Albert Einstein.
Rania Emmanouilidou, Aikaterini Gegisian, Vangelis Gkokas, Maria Ikonomopoulou, Mantalina Psoma and Anastasis Stratakis, through different means and techniques, bring forth manifestations of this moment when the unconscious awakens and creates narratives that sometimes lack realism while sometimes seem frighteningly familiar.
Falling Tight by Aikaterini Gegisian is a series of photographic ready-mades gleaned from a heterogeneous body of material, including images of gymnasts and space missions, scientific illustrations of Einstein’s theory of relativity, flower patterns and autoerotic images from both Soviet and Western photo albums and magazines. In the series, the juxtaposition of different found mate- rial is expressed not as a traditional layering of fragments but as a type of de-collaging. The series repossesses pre-existing images and explores the cinematic logic of the jump-cut, which becomes a mechanism for reflecting on the constructed nature of representations and for alluding to a surrealist imagination.
Falling Tight sets against each other two nostalgias: the ideological conflicts of the cold war and the past of the photographic image. This double mirroring is translated as the double movement of the female body, ascending and descending in space and fluctuating between different poles. The diverse photographic images placed side by side connect the female body with a series of spaces (from outer space, to natural world and dream space) and compose a continuous sense of movement that expresses a re- lease and constructs a female experience beyond gender polarities. Moving between lovemaking and fantasy, the work both deconstructs and articulates female sexuality and questions how women are positioned literally and symbolically in the space of the future.
Maria Ikonomopoulou uses newspaper editions as her work material. Drawing on the raw material from the pages of the newspaper “Kathimerini” from the beginning of the crisis to the present, she intervenes by embroidering and creating patterns. News – Crisis – Folk Art, Ikonomopoulou’s works exorcise bad news with colorful geometric patterns, transforming them into amulets.
Rania Emmanouilidou‘s Hypnagogia project addresses the notion of the subconscious as a mean of approaching the self and endoscopy. It uses symbols referring to animal instincts, fairy tales but also to the circle of life. It draws on images of art history, fashion etc in an attempt to create different semantic symbols and has an amorous atmosphere with strong references to German artist Hans Bellmer.
Charlotte Sometimes has taken its title from Penelope Farmer’s children’s book about the hero’s journey through time and past. The work deals with the concept of identity. In this work of archetypal symbolism, Emmanouilidou deals with the function of the subconscious (the figures in the head) and the duality of the masculine and the feminine.
Vangelis Gkokas is inspired by the first Vampire movie “Le Manoir du Diable” (late 19th century) production of George Mellier. It is a short film, only three and a half minutes long, which is considered by many film historians not only the first horror film but also the first film depicting a vampire as we know it today. In the titles this character is called Mephistopheles, the name of the Devil in Johann Goethe’s “Faust”, but many elements of that character, such as his transformation into a bat, hypnotizing people, and inviting creatures to serve him are considered stereotypes of vampires that have been featured in films to date.
Gkokas uses these three random frames and proposes a layout. On the one hand it mimics the succession of cinematic frames without giving the correct timing of the narrative but mainly due to the images themselves (their color / tonal quality, the deterioration of the negative, lighting shift) and attempts to recommend another type of narration.
Mantalina Psoma‘s Living Room project creates the living room environment. Psoma’s works seem like coming out of a cinematic scene. A fan of realism, her painting transcends the boundaries of “mere imagination” and touches surrealism as it exudes something “unfamiliar” and “eerie”. Psoma collects images and works on them until the point that she connects with them on a deeper level: a feeling of a forgotten dream, or a childhood memory. She works on them until an atmosphere of threatening tranquility is imposed, a “tension present in marginal situations, the evident tension just before or shortly after the storm – the tension of the moment that important decisions are being taken”.
Colour restoration of the Olympic torch lighting ceremony, during the Greek military Junta (1967) by Anastasis Stratakis is a video piece based on a found footage of the event described in the title — the Olympic torch lighting ceremony of the 1968 Olympics, filmed in Athens during the Greek dictatorship of 1967–74. The footage, initially black and white, has been painstakingly colourised, by hand-colouring each of its frames one by one. The result is a somewhat crude, awkward and ultimately less realistic documentation of the event. Even more so, when viewed as a restoration of a restoration, since the regime’s own nationalistic aesthetic and propaganda iconography were based upon a grotesque revitalisation of the country’s ancient past.
Rania Emmanouilidou studied at the Department of Visual and Applied Arts of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. She is one of the founders of Les Yper Yper, a hybrid platform of research and connection of the dynamics between arts, visual communication and design. She has also been involved in stage design, costume design and the visual environment in theatrical plays and performances. She has participated in several group exhibitions and she has presented six solo shows. Her works are in private collections in Greece, France, Turkey, Sweden, Australia and the U.S.A.
Aikaterini Gegisian is an artist of Greek-Armenian heritage, who lives and works between the UK and Greece. Building on her contribution to the Armenian Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale (2015 Golden Lion for best national participation), she has over the past three years developed a series of new commissions exploring the role of images in the construction of national and gender identities. During 2019, she is a Research Fellow at Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen, Innsbruck and developing the feature length collage film Third Person (Plural).
Vangelis Gokas was born in Korinthos, Greece in 1969. He holds a BA in Fine Arts from the Aristotle University of Thesaloniki, Greece and two Masters degrees in Fine Arts from the Athens School of Fine Arts and the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona, Spain. To date he has had seven solo exhibitions and has participated in numerous group shows both in Greece and abroad, including the Athens Biennale of 2011. Works of his form part of important private and museum collections including the Van AbbeMuseum in Eindhoven. Gokas is currently assistant professor at the School of Plastic Arts of Ioannina, Greece. Since 2003 he has presented eight solo shows and participated in several group exhibitions as well.
Maria Ikonomopoulou was born in 1961 in Kalamata (GR). After finishing her studies in Economics at the University of Athens, she moved to The Netherlands to study Arts in 1985. First, she attended the Free Academy for Fine Arts in The Hague for two years. In 1991, she graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam (NL), from the Sculpture and Monumental Art department. She has realised commissioned pieces for the public space in The Netherlands. Her autonomous work has been exposed systematically in Belgium, Greece and The Netherlands. Part of it is included in the collection of the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) in Athens, the State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, Museum Meermanno in The Hague, public institutions in The Netherlands and numerous private collections in Europe and abroad. Maria Ikonomopoulou is based in Rotterdam.
Mantalina Psoma was born in Athens in 1967. From 1985 to 1992, she studied painting at Fine Arts School of Berlin (Hochschule der Kuenste). She returned to Athens in 2001. She uses familiar pictorial codes in her painting to move into fictional, near-impossible realities. Her works, with their peculiar realism and their silent atmosphere, penetrate the viewer’s inner world and retrieve images that are identifiable with his familiar experiences or personal emotional burdens. In 2002 she was selected as the only painter from Greece to participate in the Phaidon Press “Vitamin P, New Perspectives in Painting” catalog, which includes 114 of the most important contemporary painters from around the world. She has done twelve solo exhibitions so far as well as many group exhibitions in Greece, Italy and Germany. Her work exists in many private collections in Greece and abroad.
Anastasis Stratakis (b. 1985, Greek) lives and works between Athens and Thessaloniki, where he studied painting at the Fine Arts School of the Aristotle University. His work has been included in international group exhibitions, such as: ‘Still Here Tomorrow’, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Athens (2019); Les Rencontres Internationales, Louvre Auditorium, Centre Pompidou, Forum des images, Le Carreau du Temple, Cité internationale des arts, Paris / Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2019/16); ‘At the Beginning Was the Word’, National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), Beijing, in collaboration with National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST), Athens (2018); ‘Abracadabra’, 6th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, curated by Lucrezia Calabrò Visconti (2018); ‘Epilogue’, Kunstverein Herdecke, curated by Apostolos Palavrakis (2017); ‘The Equilibrists’, organised by New Museum, New York, and DESTE Foundation, Athens, in collaboration with Benaki Museum, Athens, curated by Gary Carrion-Murayari and Helga Christoffersen with Massimiliano Gioni (2016); 13th Biennale de Lyon (2015); 4th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art (2014); ‘Afresh: A New Generation of Greek Artists’, National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST), Athens (2013) and has been exhibited at institutions such as MOMus Experimental Center for the Arts, Thessaloniki (2017), Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon (2016), Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice (2015) and MOMus Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki (2014). Works by Anastasis Stratakis are included in prominent private and institutional collections, among which are the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) Collection in Athens, the State Museum of Contemporary Art Collection in Thessaloniki, the Borusan Contemporary Collection in Istanbul and the Michael Haas Collection in Berlin. In 2018 he was selected for the 1st Stavros Niarchos Foundation Artist Fellowship Program, organised by ARTWORKS.