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Cover series: #17 Dimitra Kondylatou

Seven Songs

Admission: Free
Opening: 14.03.2023, 18:00

Tuesday-Friday: 12:00-20:00
Saturday: 12:00-15:00

Add to calendar 2023:03:14 18:00:00 2023:04:30 19:32:00 Europe/Athens Seven Songs Seven Songs - More informations on /events/event/4254-seven-songs Eleftheria Tseliou Gallery

In his new solo exhibition at Eleftheria Tseliou Gallery, titled Seven Songs, Antonakis Christodoulou presents a new body of work, on which he started focusing in 2019 and, which, as the title suggests, deals with seven music tracks that follow him through his life from very early on, until today. Every song corresponds to one or more works in the exhibition; larger and smaller paintings, drawings with pencils, collages and a folder with draft sketches and notes, placed on a music stand replica.

The songs hailed from the ‘70s in Greece, include The Dragon and The Princely Waltz from the iconic children’s radio show ‘Lilipoupoli’, Τhe young Rallou and Tsamikos by the Greek composer Manos Hadjidakis with lyrics by Nikos Gkatsos, and the beautiful Lullaby for babies and old men performed by singer Mariza Koch and with lyrics by Nikos Kavadias. These songs are deeply loved by Antonakis, who hasn’t parted with them during the last 40 years. The performers and composers, the stories, the environments, and the spaces in which he listened to those songs for the first time, are bound to him, and urge the artist to frequently revisit these songs and listen to the same tracks again and again, in an attempt to visualize that which is stored in his mind.

His multifaceted artistic approach, with obvious influences from modernism and the art scene associated with the “Generation of the ‘30s” in Greece, explores the notion of myth within a contemporary context. The form and colour choices, the geometrical shapes, and the human and animal figures, as much as the use of various different media, compose this unique visual language, in an attempt to instigate a dialogue between past and present. With the choices he makes when painting, the viewer is somehow transported through space and time.

By taking the songs as a starting point, the artist this time uses a very different approach to his work. Antonakis has a very persistent archival practice of documentation, almost obsessive, as he himself characterises it. His archive, which he builds through the years, is always subject to constant growth, and functions as a continuous source for subject-matters for his work. The elements of archive and repetition remain  always important in his artistic practice and this exhibition is no exception. In contrast to his previous work, though, which deals mainly with mainstream and pop iconography, the images in these new paintings are born from a mixture of memory and fantasy, incited by music. Enclosed narratives, memories of his childhood and youth, ghosts of grandmothers and aunts unfold in the works of this exhibition.

Antonakis listens to the same song for hours when painting. The sound entangles with memory and evokes images from the past, from the environments where the artist used to listen to the songs back then. The places, the objects, and the people that spring from his memory, are mixed with the imagination of the child, teenager and adult Antonakis. On the canvas, shapes and colours represent houses, living rooms, and objects, such as blankets, frames, old TVs, and tape recorders. The songs are characterised by dense verses and strong narratives, tell stories and express feelings. Antonakis visualises spaces within the sound in his mind, which appear as dreams and thoughts, travelling in space and time. 

Like a form of “artistic synaesthesia”, sound and music are transformed into images. Antonakis starts from the non-image to create images though senses. Every time he listens to each song, the memories in his mind become stronger and weaker simultaneously. How does the memory of childhood get tangled up with the subjectivity of the adult self? The images are constantly reborn and disregarded, through memory and imagination in a condition of continuous negotiation, as is the act of painting itself, a never-ending perpetual quest.

Odette Kouzou

Seven Songs