Virginia Filippousi | 12 to 30 July 2022
The Art Gallery “anti”, in the Kastro of Antiparos, with great pleasure and a summer mood, presents the solo exhibition of Virginia Filippousis “SUMMERtime”, from 12 to 30 July ’22.
The exhibition shows 37 watercolours of small dimensions for the first time, part of a unity that began to be created during the first lockdown in 2020.
Art Historian Christina Sotiropoulou, in her text printed in the accompanying Exhibition Catalogue, writes:
And the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’
And the cotton is high
Oh, your daddy’s rich
And your ma is good-lookin’
So hush, little baby
Don’t you cry
In the famous lyrics of “Summertime”, written by George Gershwin for the musical Porgy and Bess, summer emerges as more than just a season. It transmutes into something quite different, reflecting a mood and alluding to an archetypal perception of our collective unconscious, which persistently looks among the adversities of daily life for a place of heavenly bliss—the Isles of the Blessed or Eden, where humans lived before the original sin.
This permanent need to escape is often accompanied by a feeling of sweet nostalgia, an impulse to constantly seek not what once was but what was never attained. This is what summer stands for, acting in our emotional world as a post-dated cheque for happiness which remains paradoxically available for cashing in at all times.
It is this feeling that the watercolours from the Summertime series of Virginia Filippousi convey. The medium’s transparency and speed of execution enable the artist to create works full of freshness, without the affectation of elaborate compositions. Arranged in succession, they have the immediacy of cinematic sequences where the shots rapidly follow one another. Taken by surprise, viewers stand with bated breath before this deluge of colours, shapes and impressions.
The artist herself says she wished to exploit the transparency that water creates in aquarelle and its short drying time to metaphorically express the haste of time, in the same way, a photo camera operates when the diaphragm opens and closes to capture a momentary snapshot. This kind of ‘Polaroid’ aesthetic has long fascinated post-war artists who strove to explore its artistic potential through such iconic works as Gerhard Richter’s Betty or Robert Bechtle’s ’61 Pontiac. Yet what sets Filippousi’s compositions apart is the special lyricism of her script, which makes her reject the allure of surrealistic rendering in favour of a conscious poetic quality; the hints she introduces reference works of magic realism, but without falling prey to that movement’s frequently shallow emotionality. On the contrary, while at first reading, what prevails is the summery mood of her subjects—which seem to recall holiday moments through the bright colours, the immediacy of the composition and the swift brush strokes—one feels something darker lurking behind all this. It is a melancholic trace stemming from the suspicion that the depicted carefree scene, the impression of utter bliss and relaxation which informs the canvas, is as false as our perception of summer: it has never really existed outside our imagination.
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