The Land Escape Project
by Alexia Xafopoulou
Cube Gallery, inaugurates this autumn, with its collaboration with the visual artist Alexia Xafopoulou and hosting her solo exhibition, entitled “The Land – Escape Project”. This series of artworks, mainly paintings, is revealed to us through the conversation of the artist with the Art Historian and Critic, Thalea Stefanidou. Their conversation took place in Alexia Xafopoulou’s studio, in Thessaloniki, on May 25th, 2018, in the afternoon.
Thalea: We have talked many times about your painting. It was relatively recently we talked about your recent show titled Cloud in the Room, which I described as an allegorical narrative of logic and feeling, considering that although the cloud was thematically recognizable it actually served as a reason to describe what we call purely painting qualities.
Alexia: That’s how things work for me. I am always fascinated by the everyday and the familiar that could even be considered mundane or insignificant for painting. But the main, the recurrent issue was and always is the act of painting itself, in the sense of pure experience, a pure joy. If we want to follow, by the way, the thread for the meaning of a cloud, a place or a non-place, in the procedure the cloud dissolves its narrative ontology, loses its descriptive narrative to leave painting as a deposit and visual perception with only color qualities. Anyway, color was always important to me, but it gradually takes up the position of my painting subject. In this series of works, the title is The Land-Escape Project, which includes reference to the initial motives, images of places and skies, as well as my own painting getaway.
T. You often use words in your works. Letters or words as painting media. Talk about this use of speech.
A. Writing works as a painting medium. Words are introduced as a reminder of painting. That’s why the words, often coined, either refer to images, or to the painting process and in its media, as in blue-unwhite or white-unblue, words as colors on a palette.
T. You also paint with thread. You paint by stitch or embroider by painting. In any case, it’s like weaving Utopian geographies.
A. It is a different type of painting experience, a ritual, where you measure distances, fill the void with rhythmic repetitions, leave voids and discontinuities, and emphasize some centers with persistent stitches. One reading is that it is a drawing on canvas, but another approach, is just a painting surface that recycles itself. The thread has so many references, it joins, and at the same time wounds, it is recorded in a violent way on the cloth without showing the brutality of the process. All painting media available and back to the basics of painting: fabric, surface, form, pattern, and for me mainly color.
T. Different techniques, sometimes invented, are either thrown into open controversy or harmonize, as is the case when a thought tries to unfold. Throughout this artistic adventure, how much do you let the accidental happen in your work?
A. The accidental is a happy encounter and all the contradiction of pursuing the accidental is even more exciting. As one matures, one is more easily able to recognize and incorporate the accidental into the work. In any case, playing with the accidental, allows me to play with irony and paradox, as well as to challenge fundamental issues of painting. However, even if these painting incorporated accidents are more or less present, it is always necessary for me to build in my painting, an inner coherence.
T. If we were talking about references from the illusion of painting, about great sources of Art History, what or who would you recall?
A. If we talk about the masters of the past century, Rothko’s spirituality, Mondrian’s structure, and Matisse’s passion for color, a heterogeneous coexistence as it may seem, still touch me and almost surprise me. Today, Tomma Abts’s consistency and painting persistence and the modesty of Etel Adnan’s work touch me equally, just to mention two of today’s artists.
Alexia Xafopoulou studied Law, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Then, she studied at the School of Fine Arts, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki – Dpt. of Visual & Applied Arts-Painting and she received MA in Fine Arts at the Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design of London. She has presented 6 solo shows and has participated in more than 40 group exhibitions in Greece and abroad. She has received grants, awards and commissions from public and private Institutions such as Frissiras Museum-Athens, Beijing Biennale etc. Since April, 2015, she is the director of the Municipal Art Gallery of Thessaloniki.
Opening: Friday, 7 /09/2018, at 20.00
Duration: 7/09/2018- 29/09/2018
Exhibition Opening hours:
Tuesday Thursday Friday 10.00 – 14.00 & 18.00 – 21.00
Wednesday Saturday 10.00 – 14.00
Sunday & Monday closed
Address: 39, Miaouli str., Patras Greece
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