ART / athens / exhibitions / review / review

‘Travel App’: Artistic journeys during covid

SHOWING yet again its respect for a wide range of artistic processes and forms of art, Fokianou Art Space is currently hosting another fascinating show, entitled ‘Travel App’, which runs till December 18. This group exhibition among other things, presents how the boundaries of traditional art practices such as painting and drawing, can still be stretched, whilst the art of assemblage can be constantly updated with new types of found objects from our everyday lives. And although travelling ain’t what it used to be these days (that’s for sure…), many artists nevertheless, found other ways to travel during the pandemic, especially through art. The group exhibition ‘Travel App’ at Fokianou Art Space, now in its last week, presents some alternative perspectives on the concept of travel, during the age of covid. What’s more, due to its location, this art space makes for an interesting alternative ‘art stop’, after visiting the nearby National Gallery, or the Goulandris Museum of Modern Art.

L to R: Works by Stella Sevastopoulos, Dimitra Maltabe, Werner Hermann

Upon entering the exhibition, you first meet with the works of Stella Sevastopoulos (who has travelled into the ‘unchartered waters’ of abstract art), Dimitra Maltabe (who presents us with a virtual trip through the internet), Werner Hermann (with his unique abstract cityscape) and Georgia Touliatou (who unites her passport photo with a drawing that travels around a wasp’s nervous system).

To the left…

An enormous abstract work on canvas, by Eleftheria Rapanaki dominates the room to the left of the entrance hall. The colours and flowing lines of this work speak of how perception can be warped in a memory of a place, in this case lake Heliki. The melted plastic toy sculptures of Angel Torticollis and Nina Kotamanidou’s digital collage entitled ‘Fishface loves KTEL Serron’, add yet more interesting perspectives on the experience of travel, as does Maaike Stutterheim’s photograph taken in an abandoned Croatian hotel. Lea Petrou’s ‘The Abandoned Ship’ is an interesting mix of embroidery and linocut, inspired by a 1978 stamp, that depicted a scene from Jules Verne’s ‘The Mysterious Island’. A joint project by artists Kathryn Laing and Iliana Theodoropoulou sees them tracing the travels of Irish writer/traveler Hannah Lynch in their work. Lynch had visited Greece in 1885-87 and in 1902. Alina Tsompanelli’s ‘Burn’ collage, and some small works by Loula Leventi (part of her ‘Postcards to Nowhere’ series which are scattered around the exhibition), complete the art travels in this room.

Part of a project realised by Kathryn Laing and Iliana Theodoropoulou

To the right…

In the room to the right of the entrance hall, another large work dominates: Maria Karachristou’s ‘Travel Nap’, is a labyrinthine ink and acrylic drawing realized on a white cotton sheet. She explains how “during the time of the lockdown, I was sleeping endlessly, without wanting to wake, and the hours that I was awake, I would draw on the sheets and tablecloths, almost mechanically.” In this room you will also find an example of the fantasy worlds created by Chris Hawtin, and John Bicknell’s mind journeys, via two historical deaths (of Lady Jane Grey, and Jean-Paul Marat), that have been depicted by artists in the past. Bicknell reexplores these scenes via his own abstract artistic aesthetic, yet at the same time not failing to pay homage to these historic paintings and persons.  

Works by John Bicknell

Jane Grover’s beautiful plein air painting realized from a hotel window in Paris, and Susan Daboll’s photograph of an ‘X’ scratched into an airplane’s window, which takes on symbolic meaning, add to the mix. Kiveli Zachariou’s ‘Aetna’ photograph presents a foggy shot in the vicinity of the famed volcano, while Clemence B.T.D. Barret’s video installation presents the artist in a role that reflects on our dystopian reality and our “destructive anthropocentric habits”.

Work by Loula Leventi

Lightening the mood in this room is one of Loula Leventi’s small works from her series ‘Postcards to Nowhere’, which are part of an ongoing project started in 2019. This particular one, entitled ‘Seek Something Higher’, presents an aristocratic hand, with its pearl-trimmed long white glove, emerging from a dish of tzatziki, and reaching towards a postcard scene of monasterial Meteora. A surreally humorous work!

In the middle…

Praise must be made for the way this art space ingeniously uses the corridor in order to present works. This time round, it was Mary Cox’s painting inspired by psychedelic art and her bicycle journeys, next to a work by Sarah Anne Cox, entitled ‘Bicycle counter’ that were situated there, together with some works by Loula Leventi. Plus,  a series of San Francisco night scenes, with the city’s flickering lights, by Clancy Cavnar.

  • Participating artists:  Clemence B.T.D. Barret , John Bicknell, Clancy Cavnar, Mary Cox, Sarah Anne Cox, Susan Daboll, Jane Grover, Chris Hawtin, Werner Hermann, Maria Karachristou, Nina Kotamanidou, Kathryn Laing and Iliana Theodoropoulou, Loula Leventi, Dimitra Maltabe, Lea Petrou, Eleftheria Rapanaki, Stella Sevastopoulos, Maaike Stutterheim, Angel Torticollis, Georgia Touliatou, Alina Tsompanelli, Kiveli Zachariou.
  • Curated by Mary Cox and Panagiotis Voulgaris.
  • FokiaNou Art Space is an artist-run project space in the intimacy of a small apartment in an old building in the center of Athens. The space encourages collaborative creative efforts between Greek and foreign artists, thereby promoting and supporting the local art community. The space hosts exhibitions, workshops and projects under the direction of two artists, Mary Cox and Panagiotis Voulgaris.
  • Travel App’ runs till 18 December 2021. Hours:  Thursday – Saturday 17.00-20.00. FokiaNou Art Space: 24 Fokianou St, 7th Floor, Pagrati. Metro: Evangelismos
  • This review has been written 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

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