Five Approaches to Contemporary Painting

Participating artists: 
Augusta Atla, Yorgia Karidi, Konstantinos Ladianos, 
Yorgos Stamkopoulos, Pavlos Tsakonas

Duration: 28.05.15 - 13.06.15


“THE MISFITS” is a presentation of five different artists who work in painting in a very unique and distinct way from each other. As an exhibition it aims to present the multiplicity of painting as an expressive medium and its interrelation with various techniques and materials. As a show it also aims to become an inspiration to younger artists and the public and demonstrate that beyond style or subject-matter painting remains the dominant medium in art, capable of both provoking and revealing feeling. A mixture of styles and techniques “THE MISFITS” demonstrates the extreme beauty and diverseness of painting as a practice, as well as the artists’ struggle to constantly exceed its limitations. Ranging from Realism to Abstraction and from acrylics and spray on canvas, to egg tempera on wood, paint on fabric and ceramics, the show explores the power of painting and its unique ability to both express and reveal a world.

Augusta Atla
(b.1979) is a Danish artist who lives and works in Athens, Paris and Copenhagen. She has studied at Goldsmiths College and holds and MA in Art History & Theory from the Architectural Association in London. Atla works on painting, printing, video, photography and performance. Her oeuvre deals with colors and impressions of color as a metaphor for Growth, Vitality, Fertility and Excess. Her works are often a spiritual path to find access to sources of vitality that exist within all animate or inanimate objects. The works I AM LIFE and I AM COLOR exhibited here have been inspired by Andy Warhol’s idea of the artist as a researcher of contemporary culture, Robert Rauschenberg’s method of collaging and reconstructing objects and Mark Rothko’s intensely spiritual approach to color. Replacing the canvas with silk fabrics Atla has blown life into the work turning it also into a relic, a sacred object, a kind of sculptural form that has the ability to change, remodel and transform. Her works incorporate details of folk embroidery from Crete, images of ancient Greek vases, a Slovenian Lady dressed in traditional costume, self portraits and a female figure from Morocco. The Moroccan lady resembling a Mona Lisa in her posture, references to the way female figures have been represented in western art. The ancient vases serve as a metaphor to the ‘endless waters’ of the soul. The Cretan embroidery is a study on a craft predominantly pursued by women. Last but not least, the self-portraits express the freedom of the body, its relation to performance, its pagan connection to nature and similarities to still life.

Yorgia Karidi (b.1982) is an Athens based artist and performer that also holds art sessions with children and adults. Though a devoted painter, her work often engages multimedia and multitasking. Via her painting and ceramic works she seeks to represent fleeting images of streetwise characters interacting, looking for some tension, a tune to dance to, a partner to flirt with or a reason to start a fight. In her live sets she performs aiming for about the aforementioned qualities. Some of the mediums she performs with are vocals, speech, recitation, beats and music. Music is very important in the pieces she creates because it offers the vibrancy that is required to represent certain states of the human condition.Besides her solo projects she has been a part of the improvisation ensembles: La situation conga, Beat Remvie, Ούτε ίσια γραμμή, the bands MrCantfind, Coqueirais and more. She studied Theatrology at the University of Patras, theater and film studies at Freie Universität Berlin followed by her master’s degree in the Athens School of Fine Arts on ‘Digital Forms of Art’.

Konstantinos Ladianos
(b.1967) lives and works between Berlin and Athens. Although his principal medium is painting, his ontological concept is often also materialized in metal and embroidery. The imagery he uses is mostly anthropocentric addressing a broader theory of culture and aesthetics. In this show, Ladianos exhibits two female figures, one that brings to mind a blown out detail from a medieval painting and a second one that looks like a heroin of an outlandish tale. Recluse and extraordinary they both exhale an air of magic that unfolds a fascinating narrative, able to redefine the boundaries between reality and fiction. Ladianos’ work is often characterized by an equal acceptance of the usual and the marvelous, the improbable and the ordinary. In his paintings he mixes the private, the religious, the mythological and the lyrical with an extensive exploration of human existence and the world. Based upon the very contradiction that is signified in the term Magic Realism, between the magic and real that seem incompatible with each other, the artist creates his own personal mythology full of spectacular stories. His portraits of ‘ordinary’ people present us with a "mirror" to their soul and a microcosm of humanity itself. While history has a duty to convey all information about the status, position or role of an individual, the artist has no such obligation. Ladianos’ works present to us a cartography of the human soul, a greater picture of a transcendent world that exists beyond all we see and know.

Yorgos Stamkopoulos (b.1983) is a Berlin based visual artist working mostly in painting and digital video installations. He studied painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts and at the Universität der Kunste in Berlin and has received the Onassis Foundation scholarship for Art. His work is a mix of “blind painting” along with a set of very fine gestural strokes of acrylics and spray. His oeuvre explores space and the way the human mind and body can experience it through color and depth. Influenced by the energetic gestures of abstract expressionism, comic books, music, films and art, Stamkopoulos’ fascination with color and process results to a liberating act of continuous experimentation and improvisation. As a painter, he has developed his own technique by employing unconventional, nontraditional materials to mask his canvases. His practice begins with the application of pictorial layers on a canvas in reverse order. Once the paint is dry, he then masks and scrapes and paints it over again. The surface is thus an area of continuous ‘controlled experimentation’. His compositions partially accommodate what they have previously erased. In addition, he also plays with the notion of a mystical, almost psychedelic experience that takes place in the studio when the work is being created. Not interested in representation or narration, his paintings are both signifiers of a process that stretches the limits of material, color, form and composition and the end-result of a state of mind - somewhat like a cosmic trip.

Pavlos Tsakonas
(b.1983) graduated from the Athens School of Fine Art and has been working mostly in painting and installation. His solo show in CAN gallery presented a series of works with acrylics on plywood which portrayed various oversized objects and figures in unexpected colors. Pop, vibrant and glossy, Tsakonas’ objects seem desirable and fresh like if they just popped out of a magazine cover. Depicting recognizable everyday objects with such a fun attitude inspires to the viewer a feeling of wonder, marvel and surprise thus turning the gallery space into a playground of fantasy. In the current show Tsakonas exhibits a giant spiral thruster and a variation on his most iconic work to date, a pair of violet hands joined together in prayer inspired by Albrecht Durer’s famous c.1508 drawing “Study of the Hands of an Apostle”. The same work yet inverted, can be also seen in monumental scale on the side wall of Hotel Vienna Concordia in Piraeus Str. Commissioned by the Athens School of Fine Arts and the YPEKA Ministry, Tsakonas’ mural is a 600 sq.m street intervention that challenges thousands of passersby everyday. The enormous painting serves as a commentary to everyday life in the city. Its scale and angle aim to break the uniformity of the gray landscape and fill the urban void with an unexpected and somewhat provocative visual message. Emphasizing more the feeling of falling rather than that of a prayer, Tsakonas’ “Untitled” work gives a focal point and a breath of freshness in one of the most deprived areas of the city center.