GOULANDRIS MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART / ANDROS
Shaping the IntangibleThe Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation presents at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Andros a retrospective exhibition dedicated to Alexandra Athanassiades, titled Shaping the Intangible, from July 3, 2022 through October 2, 2022.
Covering almost five decades of creation, the exhibition, which is not displayed chronologically, gives visitors the opportunity to discover the different aspects of Athanassiades’ artistic journey, from the early works of her childhood to the present. The exhibition first takes us to the artist’s workshop, where Athanassiades has been working for thirty years. The workshop, which overlooks a lush green garden where her artworks prevail, is the place where she creates, draws, paints and takes photographs, as well as carefully stores, here and there, scattered fragments of wood, metal and paper that patiently await their transformation into works of art.
We then discover an unknown aspect of her artistic journey: the fundamental role of abstraction at the end of the 1970s. Most of the works in this section, which are presented to the Greek public for the first time, highlight the impact that sculptors such as Henry Moore and Alberto Giacometti have had on Athanassiades, which nonetheless has not altered her own, very personal and perceptive gaze.
Following a 25-year leap, we reach a section exclusively dedicated to Constantine P. Cavafy, where Athanassiades reveals an unexpected world, full of colour and sensuality. Here, the artist pays tribute to the love she shares with Cavafy for the harmonious union of ancient and modern; the recollection, full of grace and subtlety, of his feelings and urges; the claim of a sensual, erotic even, approach to the human body; the importance of the past, its exploration, its integration and its acceptance.
Cavafy’s poetry under the gaze of Athanassiades allows for a natural transition to the world of horses, a key subject in her artistic exploration. Made of metal or paper, the horses represent what she describes as “two parts of [her] self. The part that keeps its head down, moves on and does what needs to be done, and the part that is wild and refuses to do so”.
The exhibition culminates with a section exploring the cornerstone of Athanassiades’ art: the human body. Female and male figures, made of wood, metal and paper and inspired by mythology, by herself, by her father or her husband, co-exist in this section and reveal all aspects of her work, even the darkest ones. Here, her personal experience runs through the matter and touches us with disarming honesty, yet always with sensitivity and subtleness.