Text by Areti Leopoulou
Kalfayan Galleries Athens-Thessaloniki
A thread has the ability to connect and hold together other objects; it is located always “somewhere in between” as a binder and it doesn’t seem to have an independent entity. Functioning as a literal and metaphorical bridge, it may simultaneously consolidate, yet also separate. Whether the thread is approached as an object of knitting or as an allegorical reference in life and in psychoanalysis (e.g. the “life thread”, or the “Ariadne’s Thread” -the mythological abolition of the human sacrifice custom in the ancient world), it is undoubtedly a term that is present to numerous situations of life over time, but customary used in the frame of weaving, knitting and embroidery. Mathematics also find meaning through threads[i]; people look at their lives on the edge of the thread; even computer programming is based on the thread as a process. Furthermore, if viewed as the product of an industry that has supported tremendously the Greek economy, during the 20th century, then one easily perceives that it does carry a memory with countless cultural and social aspects[ii].
The scenario of this exhibition is based on the above thoughts and its aim is to meet a variety of thread management cases: all projects are clear attempts to use the thread as a bridge structure for visual and conceptual research, by both anonymous craftsmen of previous centuries, by tapestry experts of the 60s and 70s, as well as young contemporary artists, following different applied appropriations and conceptual interpretations of thread’s multiple significance and history[iii].
Thus in this show there are presented textiles of the 19th century Greek tradition by anonymous craftsmen, along with modernist approaches of weaving (pile-woven textiles, namely “tapisseries”) by artists of the ‘60s – ‘70s Greek avant-garde (Niki Kanagini, Ioannis Faitakis, Alex Mylona) who attempted to adapt the paintings’ qualities and the style of abstract expressionism on the decorative surface of tapestries; preparatory drawings of grids, based on the research of mathematical sequences (Nausica Pastra); grids by unexpected organic or inorganic materials (Vartan Avakian, Efi Spyrou); stories of the modern mass media calling on us, in order to connect the threads of various sociopolitical events (Elias Mamaliogkas, Bill Balaskas); drawings with traces on the paper surface in a kind of allegorical weaving narrative (Nina Papaconstantinou); odd, yet magic carpets of historical memory (Der-Meguerditchian); gestures that sometimes define presence or absence of meaning in a space (Maria Loizidou, Maria Tsagkari); even fashion design re-using crafts traditions (Retrovi).
Artists and artworks
…Efi Spyrou weaves peculiar materials, such as high-strength fastening straps, saturated fluorescent lamps or in other cases ribbons, latex, metal. “Chess Board” (2017) is a grid of inorganic and mathematical origin, based on old embroidery designs, as well as the iconography of the Rorschach diagnostic tests (according to which, the viewer / patient is asked to describe, on her/his own way, a series of symmetrical formations). Spyrou’s approach is a clear indication that the process of knitting can be accomplished through every material and metaphorical choice...
Art historian – curator
[i] “We realized that we could knit with the crochet the Multiplicity of Lorents,” said the mathematician Hinke Maria Osinga, Katerina Schina, Kali and Anapodi. O Politismos tou Plektou, Kichli Publishing, Athens 2014, p. 121.
[ii] “A thread, viewed at an instant of time, is the state of computation”, in Bil Lewis, Daniel J Berg, Threads primer. A guide to multithreaded programming, SunSoft Press, 1996, p. 38.
[iii]Leda Papastefanaki, Labor, technology and gender in the Greek industry. The
Piraeus textile industry, 1870-1940, University of Crete, 2009.
[iv] Niki Kanagini, “Tapisserie, an autonomous art”, Zygos, v. II, 1965, pp. 63-69.
[v] Ioannis Faitakis, “The art of tapisserie”, Zygos, v. 94-95, Sept.-Oct. 1963, pp. 24-31