The breathless sinking, the inner tremors, the gasping, the ceaseless inner struggle leave their resounding imprint on the paintings of Egkrateia Roumpou in her new exhibition.
”The intangible essence of human existence hovers, in a concise yet prominent way, in her abstract canvases that vibrate with colour and light, with words and lines, with added paper, scars and cracks”, notes archaeologist/art historian Iris Kritikou. And the artist, in “a process of ‘sublimation and transformation’ through the courageous act of painting that eschews all safety valves of cosmetic safety to narrate a personal experience of the world in an unaffected, physicalised way”, invites us to look beyond the surface, to tune in to the voice within us.
“My need to dive under the surface”, writes Egkrateia Roumpou, “the sinking in the mud of Samuel Beckett’s How It Is, in Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis and Crave, the descent to Dante’s hell is conveyed through a system of repeated images and memories. Different notes converse on the canvas. Texts that I rework through painting get mingled and rewritten anew. Words, phrases, signs and dots resulting from the repetitive writing; an automatic writing, a visual purification. The gesture, the paint, the coexistence and the struggle of all those elements on the surface of the painting. This ‘digging’ into the different levels that emerge brings me face-to-face with the burden of existence itself.”
This is where the painterly monologue turns into a dialogue for those bold enough to take even a brief dive into the uncertainty of human existence. It is a journey of quest, a challenging route. Words, though soundless, can be heard through their deafening silence. Phrases conscious or unconscious, colour and light, repetitive motifs, paradoxical details that are barely perceptible, momentary fragments of an inner ‘murmur’. A turn inwards. As Iris Kritikou points out, this is “a brave return to Beckett’s luminously painful failure, to the twirl, the inward turn and the ultimate exodus of “Crave”; to the purgatory of the mind, to the cosmic matrix of genesis and the world that keeps hurling us down the gloom and elevates us for a little while more into the light.
Exhibition opening: Thursday 28 September 2023 from 19:00 until 22:00
Duration: 28 September – 25 October 2023
Opening hours: Monday closed
Wednesday - Saturday 11:00 - 16:00
Tuesday - Thursday - Friday 11:00 - 20:00
Admission to the exhibition is free.
Ikastikos Kiklos DL, 6 Akadimias St, Athens 10671, +30 2103646818