Fotini Poulia and Esmeralda Momferratou
NO LAND & A LETTER TO ESMÉE
Curated by Panos Famelis and Stavros Papagiannis
Crux Galerie presents the duo exhibition of the artists Fotini Poulia and Esmeralda Momferratou with the title “No Land & A letter to Esmée”.
Two different cases of a drama setting, create an imaginary world that consists of realistic elements and it can be seen as the directed picture of an emotional account.
The works of Fotini Poulia illustrate the notion of the desolate place embodied in oil paintings on wooden surfaces and drawings with pencil on paper. These works are converted into psychological reminders, symbols of the charged relationship between the human subject and their environment from which the human subject is continuously alienated. Fragments from natural landscapes, animals, and remainders of human interventions are rendered with a cold, almost arctic light that enhances the feeling of distancing of the viewers from the experience of their physical environment. This experience is reintroduced to us through the imagery of Fotini Poulia as a melancholic contemplation with what is lost and distant. Quoting the artist: “Symbolizing, the ultimate principle of Romanticism, has a central role, but the landscapes were not made upon the viewing of nature and are not studies of the real. They are evolving into a contemporary version of landscape painting, where the detail is detached from its natural place and is transferred into an artificial one, carrying the traces of time”.
This particular body of paintings coexists with the three-dimensional works of Esmeralda Momferratou. Here, the narrative invites us to meet a fragile and aesthetical poetic quality that highlights life through grotesque elements. The central subject of Esmeralda’s works is about the understanding of identity of the human subject related to the “decay” of memory and time and also loss. The whole endeavor is initiated because of the wish of the artist to open a “dialogue” with her grandmother whom she has never met and it takes place after the destruction of her house during the wildfire in Mati in 2018. Esmeralda Momferratou visits the location of this national disaster repetitively in order to collect from the past and save anything she is able to. With the “spoils” she has collected, she builds three-dimensional worlds consisting of the fragments of corroded materials, video projections, photographs and notes, creating in this way multimedia installations and tiny sculptures made from found objects mostly.
A common approach regarding the process of these particular works, which is characterizing both of the artists, concerns the ways that they collect, handle and intervene in their own archival material. This common approach is something that becomes apparent in the structural design of all the presented works. Violence and death are fostered equally by both artists, who through different expressions they make them essential in their narratives. For example, the permanent absence of Esmeralda’s grandmother finds a similar emotional place with the work of Fotini Poulia “One of those graves” that depicts the grave of her father.
In any case, we become witnesses of a rebirth through a network of infinite connections between meaning, matter and form. Situations such as decay, violence, and absence of life are factors that push each artist in a personal overcoming. In the works, the poetical values and the meditations that are communicated with us, through codes of symbolic elements, exercise a very sensitive critique and give life in new “worlds” and new values, concerning mainly the way we stand across the events that define us.