Turin, Italy Venia Dimitrakopoulou's exhibition reflecting on the role of the artist as a hero who awakens consciences

From February 22 to March 31, 2019, the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin is hosting Venia Dimitrakopoulou's solo exhibition entitled 'Futuro Primordiale - Logos'

From February 22 to March 31, 2019, the Gallery of Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin hosts the exhibition Futuro Primordiale - Logos, a solo show by Greek sculptor Venia Dimitrakopoulou, curated by Afrodite Oikonomidou and Matteo Pacini. The Italian tour of the multifaceted artist thus continues in Turin with her second major solo exhibition featuring a new selection of works, including two large-scale installations: the unpublished work Ellampsis (2019), created especially for the occasion, which represents an iron epigraph with a “prophetic” luminous inscription, and the installation Dialogues (2019), which refers to deconstructed books in imposing iron sheets and delicate Chinese paper, on which float in black and red ink phrases inspired by a sociological research carried out among ordinary people, an expression of the voices that usually do not have media resonance. Venia Dimitrakopoulou lands, in fact, in Italy with her triptych of exhibitions in a difficult, dramatic phase for the history of the West and for the destinies of Europe, made of walls, populism, nationalism, racial discrimination and new frontiers, as Franco Fanelli notes in the critical text in the catalog; but it is precisely in the crisis that “the hero,” in this case the artist acted to awaken the collective conscience, “must know how to ask the right questions to the right interlocutors. Always in the crisis the hero seeks his answers in the extreme depths.” That is why Dimitrakopoulou questions and investigates in myth, history and the near past, down to the common roots between Italy and Greece, moving “from the ivory tower of art to the control tower of the social condition,” to quote philosopher Dionysis Kavvathas.

The main theme of the entire exhibition in Turin is the logos, word that becomes sign and at the same time sign that becomes word, which goes well with the candid surfaces of the exhibition hall that seem to recall “unwritten pages,” as the sculptor suggests. “All the works presented,” Venia Dimitrakopoulou explains, “have one feature in common: they are covered with texts that seem almost like automatic writing. Small books, leporelli, diaries, and again the Robe of Nessus and the Secret Armor.” It is precisely these two works that serve as a “link” between the Palermo exhibition(Futuro Primordiale - Materia), on display at the Salinas Museum until Feb. 3, and the Turin stop, as Fanelli further points out: “In these two splendid works on paper, inscribed in the form of an ancient priestly tunic or banner historiated by a tormented script, the alpha and omega, the relationship between opposites and the circularity that constellate Dimitrakopoulou’s work, come to life.” A duality found in the format of the proposed works and in the message they convey, which tells of a universal condition in the more imposing creations and of an intimate world in those on a smaller scale, such as A diary, 3,107 Linethoughts, Labyrinth, Amulet, the Summer Days and Cold Days series, veritable artist’s books that go on to form personal anthologies of inner happenings.

Indian ink, pastel, watercolor, up to collage on rare papers thus give shape to works ranging from small to large size, under the banner of a stylistic and technical nomadism that, ranging from traditional sculpture to installation, from video to action, from writing to graphics, as Fanelli points out to us is "a coherent and necessary condition for an artist who, in the exile of classicity, lives and works on the edge of an epochal transition. The threshold is in this sense a recurring metaphorical figure in his work, on a par with the double, the chronological circularity, the very oxymoron that gives the title to this Italian triptych of his: Futuro Primordiale. These are all concepts that refer strongly to that idea of the border that seems to us the most present trait in her work, along with metamorphosis, for her an existential and poetic condition."

Venia Dimitrakopoulou, who was born and trained in Athens at the Academy of Fine Arts, and graduated from the Higher School of Dramatic Art of the Athens Conservatory of Fine Arts, later specializing at the Atelier Vivant de l’École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, currently lives and works between the Greek capital and the island of Aegina and is a member of the Chamber of Fine Arts of Greece. He has held solo exhibitions and participated in group exhibitions in Greece and abroad, and his works are part of important public and private collections. In Italy, in 2015 she presented her artistic activity as part of the educational programs of the Venice Biennale Sessions, while in 2016 she held her first solo exhibition in our country, at the Artespressione gallery in Milan, with a show entitled Selected works, curated by Charis Kanellopoulou and Matteo Pacini. President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella in 2017 awarded her the honor of Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy for her contribution, through her artistic work, to the strengthening of Greek-Italian relations.

The exhibition at the Gallery of the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin enjoys the patronage of the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Hellenic Republic, the Embassy of Greece in Rome, the Region of Piedmont, the National Museum of Contemporary Art of Athens (EMST), the Albertina Academy of Fine Arts in Turin and the Italian-Hellenic Cultural Association for Education “Microkosmos.” and is configured as the second stage of the trilogy of Italian exhibitions organized by the Hellenic Cultural Foundation-Italy in collaboration with Artespressione of Milan, the artist’s reference gallery in Italy for this review, which from April 12 to June 14, 2019 will continue then in Trieste at the Civico Museo Sartorio and the San Giusto Castle with more new works on the theme of “Sound.” Venia Dimitrakopoulou’s three exhibitions in our country in Palermo, Turin and Trieste are part of the Tempo Forte Italia - Greece program, an initiative promoted by the Embassy of Italy in Athens and sanctioned during the First Intergovernmental Summit between Italy and Greece, held on September 14, 2017 in Corfu, aimed at fostering and supporting the strengthening of cultural relations between the two countries, while respecting the balance between the various cultural spheres, from the traditional to the contemporary, from the past to the future. The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive bilingual, Italian and English catalog published by Umberto Allemandi. Futuro Primordiale - Logos opens Thursdays from 8 to 11 p.m. and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 7 p.m. Free admission. Info on the artist at www.dimitrakopoulou.com.

Image: Venia Dimitrakopoulou, Dialogues (2019; installation in iron and Indian ink on Chinese paper, dimensions variable)

Turin, Italy Venia Dimitrakopoulou's exhibition reflecting on the role of the artist as a hero who awakens consciences
Turin, Italy Venia Dimitrakopoulou's exhibition reflecting on the role of the artist as a hero who awakens consciences

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