ITALIAN gallerist Glenda Lorenzani moved to Athens from Rome in 2014. Despite the crisis, and the pandemic, she has managed to keep her eye on the art scene in her own unique manner, via her creation and running of the Domus Art Gallery. This ultra-modern, chic space is where an international crowd of artists, friends and collectors meet, in the comfort of Lorenzani’s own home. Unlike the white cube atmosphere of a classic gallery, Lorenzani’s home gallery, nestled in the green Southern suburbs, presents the artphil crowd with a much more cosy atmosphere, where they can mingle, enjoy the art on show, whilst also enjoying a drink and some art talk. The upcoming show ‘Matter in Motion’, opening on December 9, promises to be yet another interesting mix of art and culture, centred around the works of artists Petr Shevchenko, Nikos Mikroulis, Vittoria Panunzi and Luisa Valeriani.
So how does Athens compare to Rome for Lorenzani? She explains the pros and cons: “These two cities are so steeped in ancient history and art, and both still live very much in the past. For an emergent artist it can be hard to detach oneself from this and to create something new, as well as not to compare oneself with this prestigious ancient art scene. But while Roman artists are still very tied to their inheritance and highly inspired by it, Greek ones are more curious about experiencing new levels of art.” Lorenzani concludes that for both Italian and Greek artists, the weight of their cultural heritage can make “finding one’s own voice a fascinating goal, but not easy to achieve”.
The gallery’s history
“Eight years ago, I met one of my present artists, Giusy Lauriola, who introduced me to the world of art. The results were the first Domus exhibition called ‘Butterfly Effect’, which led to a series of many other exhibitions together. I’ve always been supported by my family, especially my brother who also works with me as a photographer, and my husband, who pushed me in recent years to start our first collection of contemporary art”, explains Lorenzani. She undoubtedly brought an Italian air with her when she first opened the space, back in December of 2014, presenting to the Greek public the works of Lauriola, which intertwined aspects of Roman and Greek culture, myth and history, whilst working on two layers (canvas and plexiglass).
In May 2015, more Italian artists followed, when Lauriola’s work was joined with that of Mauro Bellucci, Dino Ignani, Enrico Lorenzani and Mauro Molle, in an exhibition entitled ‘A5’. In the years to follow, the mix of artists got more multicultural, with Iranian artist Marjan Fahimi joining the gallery’s artists, followed by Greek artists Natassa Kaloti, Ioanna Kardiakou. Greek artist Konstantinos Patsios and Italian artist Natino Chirico are now also part of the Domus team, adding their own colourful creativity to the gallery’s ever-growing artistic vista.
With the opening of its new venue, in October 2021, the Domus Art Gallery presented the work of Petr Shevchenko and Nikos Mikroulis, two artists who will now also be joined by Vittoria Panunzi and Luisa Valeriani in December’s exhibition ‘Matter in Motion’.
Alternative art spaces
The concept of the home gallery, or domestic gallery, is part of a growing trend in the art world which has seen to many alternative spaces being created for viewing art. From a basement to an apartment, or even a porch, as Rona Marech’s ‘Washington Post’ article had described back in 2011, these spaces with their unique atmosphere, are often run by artists (as is the case with the apartment gallery Fokianou Art Space in central Athens for example), but also by art dealers (as is the case with Domus Art Gallery). One of the first with an international character, here in Athens, was that of the Jill Yakas Gallery, run by English art dealer Jill Yakas, up in Kifissia. It was a cultural hub from 1982-2009, where many ex-pat creatives would meet and mingle, and also enjoy the superb garden after seeing the exhibition. Now, Lorenzani’s space is doing the same in the Southern suburbs, with an exceedingly Italian flavor added to the mix.
Lorenzani explains why she decided to create this art space: “There are many independent artists working from their studios without the mediation of galleries or other institutions, making it difficult to be known outside their circles. This is why I created a concept of an art space that offers an alternative platform for artists to show their fresh works from their studios. As the name implies, Domus aims to be an informal venue where artists and public can get together a dialogue.”
The price of art…
The main reason that not many people can afford an authentic work of art, is of course its price. However, the amount of work and thought that goes into a piece, plus the experience of the artist etc., all have to be taken into consideration. Lorenzani elaborates:“The price of a work of art is normally based on how much an artist has worked, exhibited in galleries/museums, etc., thus related to how their artistic path has evolved.I have always supported the idea that art should be accessible to a larger audience, which led me to focus primarily on talented emerging artists, new to the market. The price range is definitely reasonable but may sometimes differ from one artist to another, based on their objectives, experiences and knowledge. Overall, my goal is to offer an homogenous selection of art combined with ‘friendly’ pricing.” She goes on to explain, what she looks for in a work of art: “Firstly, I look for the artist as a person, trying to find their personal concepts in their work. Behind the canvas there is a soul and we are mainly dealing with this.”
What happened during the pandemic…
“The upcoming exhibition is indeed the proof that, during the pandemic, artists were experimenting with different techniques, clearly improving themselves. The severe restrictions applied in the last two years undoubtedly affected our lifestyle, mainly causing a stagnation of physical mobility, but their creativity and enthusiasm didn’t stop, giving inspiration to many gallerists” explains Lorenzani.
‘Matter in Motion’ is an exhibition which presents the development of a group of artists during the pandemic, and they all have one thing in common: the shared concept of motion and how matter transforms through each unique perspective. The show places itself at the interface between the stagnation of physical mobility during the pandemic and the incessant creative enquiry, development and growth of each artist during this period. All the works bare reference to the never-ending motion present in our material world.
Vittoria Panunzi and Petr Shevchenko propose a progressive evolution of geometric shapes in a linear and continuous dimension, while Nikos Mikroulis and Luisa Valeriani explore the dimension of time through a surreal perception of reality as a continuous shift between past, present and future.
Vittoria Panunzi’s work explores a variety of earthly materials such wood, water and stones, which create a minimal platform that transcends the viewer’s emotions to another dimension. Petr Shevchenko challenges the rules of mosaic techniques and invites the viewer to engage in a metaphysical journey. His use of a lenticular prism results in changes of the color and tone of his medium, depending on the angle from which the work is viewed. The wood carved constructions of Nikos Mikroulis combine the warmth of the organic material with the mechanics of man-made metallic clockwork systems. The key elements, as the artist explains, are spirituality and austerity, universal laws of motion and machines, all of which result in the universal question of time.
Luisa Valeriani works with memories from her cellphone photo gallery, which she then prints onto traditional canvas and goes on to embelish with decorative patterns inspired by the impressions of moments in the past that she has lived. The concept of sequence and passage of time are paramount. The viewer is invited to engage and reflect on the conceptual connection between the pieces of art per se and the ground they command in our intangible world.
- ‘Matter in Motion’ opens at Domus Art Gallery (28 Prousis Str, Vari), on December 9 (6-11pm).
- For more info, visit the site www.domusartgalleryathens.com. Tel: 00306907477997
- ‘Art Scene Athens’ is written and run by artist/journalist Stella Sevastopoulos, who moved to Athens from London, in 1994. Since then, she has been following the Greek art scene, writing about it, but also exploring her own artistic practice. For examples of her art you can also visit her online portfolio