On the occasion of Maro Michalakakos’ participation at the group exhibition “Flying over the Abyss” organized by NEON, with works from D.Daskalopoulos Collection at the Athens Conservatoire, following and drawing inspiration from “The Saviors of God”, a now classic book of Greek literature, a series of “spiritual exercises” written by Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis, curated by Maria Maragkou and Dimitris Palaiocrassas. And her new collaboration with Galeri Nev in Istanbul, after her last year’s very successful participation at the group exhibition “Till it’s gone” at the Modern Istanbul, curated by: Celenk Bafra and Paolo Colombo. We observe the entire course of her work and discuss for her new and previews artworks that will be on exhibition in “Doors of Perception”, her 1st solo exhibition in Turkey, on 13 January, mixing the weight and the gloss of velvet with the lightness and the sensitivity of watercolor.
By Efi Michalarou
Photo: NEON & Maro Michalakakos Archive
Mrs. Michalakakos, you are starting a new collaboration with NEV Gallery in Istanbul. We know that last year you participated in the exhibition “Till it’s gone”, with watercolors that all were purchased by the Istanbul Modern. What does it mean for you the developing of this new professional relationship?
The cooperation I had with the curators of the exhibition, Celenk Bafra and Paolo Colombo at Istanbul Modern was productive and the concept we worked on was very interesting. The communication with the artists was very prolific and it was a great honor for me to participate in the exhibition ‘’Till it’s gone’’, it was a marvelous experience. I am glad to be the first female Greek artist in the Museum’s Collection for personal reasons; my grandfather had origins from Istanbul.
As we know, you have visited recently Istanbul, after the change of the political situation, have you noticed differences from last year?
Istanbul is a magical city that is going through hard times and you can feel that in the atmosphere. It is a very charming city of great cultural and historical interest that can provide great inspiration for an artist, particularly when a part of her originates from there. I am approaching my work through elements that are personal-experiential or historical, enriched with information and influences to form the artwork with the intention to communicate with the viewer.
In your 1st solo exhibition at NEV Gallery in Istanbul you will present older and new works in velvet and watercolors. How challenging and interesting is for an artist to combine different periods, phases and means of expression?
My work has multiple aspects, mainly in the means of expression. When I have the idea of an artwork I am trying to find the best way to express it. I investigate and choose the materials that I consider are the best to fulfil my idea, but the central axis of my work is stable. At first I thought that the process was like the links of a chain, now I feel it like the water flow. My work deals with the human relations and the acceptance of human nature, which also contains death.
The exhibition’s title is “Doors of Perception’’ a very intriguing title. How emerges and what are its references?
It is inspired by the work of William Blake ‘’The marriage of Heaven and Hell’’, and from the philosophical essay, by Aldous Huxley. These were the inspiration of “The Doors” to name their band as such. William Blake’s poetry refers to dipoles, Heaven – Hell, attraction – repulsion, love – hate, white – black… Whilst also referring to the wedding of these elements…. Those dipoles are necessary for the human existence.
I know you and your work many years and I’m keeping track of your work closely. I believe that your work from the figures that you are chiseling on the velvet, to the “Oh Les Beaux Jours” that is on presentation at the exhibition “Flying over the Abyss”, is an internal journey from the conscious to the unconscious, and finally to the soul, which contains the personal and the universal.
At the Athens Conservatory the installation stretches in space trying to find other gaps that can be filled. Perhaps through these gaps the two mountains can eventually meet even for a while… The title of the installation “Happy Days” (Oh les Beaux Jours) has been chosen by Paul Verlain’s homonymous poem and Samuel Becket’s work. Two mountains of fluff, and dust, covering anxiety about human condition and shows to us the path of the authority and power games in relationships.
First Publication: www.dreamideamachine.com
© Interview-Efi Michalarou
Info-Athens: Curators: Dimitris Paleocrassas and Maria Maragkou, Athens Conservatoire, 17 Vassileos Georgiou B’ Avenue, Athens, Duration: 18/11/16-29/1/17, Days & Hours: Wed-Fri 12:00-20:00, Sat-Sun 11:00-19:00, http://neon.org.gr
Info-Istanbul: Galeri Nev, İstiklal Caddesi Mısır Apt., No: 163 Kat 4 D:23, Beyoğlu İstanbul, Duration: 13/1/17-4/3/17, Days & Hours: Tue-Sat 11:00-18:30, www.galerinevistanbul.com