curated by Areti Leopoulou
Nitra Gallery is pleased to present in Thessaloniki the latest body of work by Maria Paschalidou, which addresses the notion of decay. The observation of nature that always finds a way to move on, the artist creates paintings and an installation by blending and combining organic and non-organic materials she collects from the enviornmnet, such as soil, rocks, coal, cement and building materials from derelict houses. Her practice is related to the concepts of decay, time, memory and trauma but also with the triumph of life and rebirth. The title of the exhibition ‘Communicating Vessels’ is borrowed from the well known work by Andre Breton, where from all the titles of the works are taken.
… il y a là une porte entr-ouverte, au-delà de laquelle il n’y a plus qu’un pas à faire pour,
au sortir de la maison vacil-lante des poètes,
se retrouver de plain-pied dans la vie
(Les Vases communicants, p. 11)
(.. . there is a door, half-opened, on the other side of which
just one step has to be taken, in leaving the shaky house
of poets, to find oneself squarely within life.)
In 1932 André Breton (1896-1966) completed his book Communicating Vessels (Les Vases communicants), writing in an ironically realistic way his own surrealistic testimony about the experience of life, expressiveness and reality, the desired and the dreamy, the pragmatic and ultimately the ideal -the potentially revolutionary in life and art.
This schematic yet deeply existential constitution of Breton’s discourse and cognition, about the ever-changing yet balancing function of everyday life, finds its metaphor in the communicating vessels. It is precisely this fluid yet solidly proven phenomenon, that is the conceptual frame on which Maria Paschalidou’s oeuvre is founded in her new solo exhibition; the concept that brings us closer to understanding her artworks: from dream (position) to reality (opposition) and from there to revolution (connection of the existent with the ideal) -and so forth.
In her new series, Paschalidou creates mixed media walls, as she has so solidly, persistently, and dedicatedly done for years, developing her research interest in the surfaces of buildings that are accompanied by the wear and tear of time. This time, she has full control and uses all kinds of materials that serve her. She reconstructs with realistic detail the patina of time, enriches the painted surface with “pictorial spolia” of memory, highlights the wrinkles of surfaces, and lets life and nature shine through, finding cracks anywhere to burrow and bloom. She interferes with seams -seams of life and protection- on the surface of the work, preserving balances that are both vulnerable and profoundly existent. With each work she constructs anew microcosms of life, cognition and soul, and ultimately proves to us how revolutionary artistic practice can be.
Indeed, how do we stand in the face of perishable reality? How do we perceive and react to the quotidian and how do we construct manners of perceiving life in all its strength and imperfection within and beyond dream and realism? What can we learn from Paschalidou’s expressive idiom, this mixture of grounded realism and dream projection, from her own revolutionary expressive battle? Her artistic intellect follows the dream, without being cut off from grounded reality, and allows these elements to meet and communicate through her tangible artistic expression.
If they were to converse with Antoni Tàpies, they would mutually enjoy their subjugation of “insignificant” materials, accumulating dirt and plaster, reasserting their own deeply personal and political stand. If they shared threads and twine with Stathis Logothetis, they would jointly show us the ways in which life stubbornly manages to return, even in its most vulnerable form and nature. All these ways of redefining the existent, the personal truth between dream and revolution, are Maria Paschalidou’s visual and theoretical context in which she deconstructs the world and reconstitutes it in her work.
Paschalidou’s oeuvre is obviously and unceasingly continuous and consistent; she is a communicator of time, an expresser of the “perpetual recreation” of the world. What always returns to the fore through her artistic research, is the communication between the visible and the invisible, between perishability and durability; it is the identifications, the connections, the convergences of quests and inventions that give such material substance to these wall-shelters of the mind. And it is for all these qualities that we are grateful to her.
Art historian – curator
Maria Paschalidou was born and lives in Thessaloniki. She graduated with honors from the Department of Visual and Applied Arts of the School of Fine Arts of the
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (2009) and from the Department of Theology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Since 2010 she has been teaching visual arts
in public schools of primary and secondary education. She has participated in many group exhibitions and in 2017 she had her first solo exhibition at the Nitra Gallery in
Thessaloniki (curated by Thouli Misirloglou). This is her fourth solo exhibition curated by Areti Leopoulou.