Visual Artist

Maria Papacharalambous

After an invitation from Artbox and the curator Thalia Stefanidou. 

They invited me to find an alternative way to present my work at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Arts in Thessaloniki. Therefore parallel we my exhibition “here and there”, I created the workshop ‘Here & Now Happiness’. The event took place from the 18th of December 2010 until the 30th of January 2011. 

I invited artists, thinkers, philosophers, psychologists, etc were participated by sending their text based on the concept of happiness. These texts were exhibited as artworks during the event. At the same time some of them were interviewed and a series of videos were created and looped. Also during that period artists from different disciplines created and performed in the space always upon the notion of happiness. 

 

see blog
www.herenowhappiness.blogspot.com

 

 

The Idea

Workshop of productive ideas and practical applications for finding happiness
[Project Space] Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art (MMCA) Thessaloniki 

A game of subversion not only of the sense of the gallery, but also of art itself with regard to its aims and objectives. An ideological opening that aspires to more substantial and anthropocentric approaches. An exploration for the discovery of the basic pillars that support, preserve, or even challenge what we all desire: happiness. The new does not constitute an end in itself, but, on the contrary, a focus on mechanisms of escape from the contemporary dark ages of our everyday lives. New combinations of existent knowledge and experience can lead to new sociopolitical practices.

A journey embarked upon in order to seek the meaning of my own existence and self-realization (with accordance to Maslow's hierarchy of needs) through art and the glossary that I have developed during all these years. What I learn I turn into something helpful for other human beings. We are always part of a result, but holding a conscious and impulsive stance before this approach sets a new landscape, a new view that can be defined as art, or maybe as 21st century art. Where scientists for once more meet the arts, philosophy, and poetry.

This alchemical workshop of ideas, images, and sensations looks forward to causing encounters (either physical, by distance, or virtual) with philosophers, psychologists, theorists, scientists, historians, art critics, artists, poets, radio producers and the public in general, with the aim of approximating the meaning of happiness through modern positions or even acrobatics. 

Might art be superfluous in a happy environment?

The objective, therefore, of this initiative is the causation and production of an empirical, creative, experiential, and interactive procedure where the terminus will be the conquest of happiness, the conquest of the essence of things. Knowing and utilizing diverse ways of altering our “state of mind” with speculations and recipes. Theoretically speaking, anyone who participates in one way or another will go home much happier.

In the past I transfigured petty materials into poetry, into something alive. I tried to affect the immaterial through matter. Now I approach the same theme in a more metaphysical, quantum, perhaps, approach where the immaterial affects matter. More precisely, our body is the material and, penetrating the threshold of the mind, the conscious and the unconscious, one reaches the immaterial and spiritual world that directly affects the behavior and the way of seeing things.

The environment/installation takes the shape of a non-space where the idea of a traditional coffee shop, of a refuge of the soul and the body, as well as of a park of free expression (in the style of Hyde Park) peacefully coexist.

I personally thank all the participants on the Here & Now Happiness project

 

Lydia Hadjiacovou,

Curator, 2011

“Here Now Happiness”

A breakfast cooked by two Marias, an artist and a curator… A synthesis composed for marimba, written for Happiness, difficult to be performed, even by its creators… A performance for piano, vocals and words, narrating the history of the concept of Happiness… A series of interviews/monologues/confessions on Happiness by intellectuals… Performances and improvisations… Countless letters and texts sent through email…

These are only a few of the responses to Maria Papacharalambous’ invitation to define the concept of Happiness.

In the project “Here & Now. Happiness”[4], Maria Papacharalambous sums up her up to date oeuvre, in which she uses a number of different media –mainly painting, sculpture and video. She produces a work in progress that engages with the theme of Happiness and its search. In the frame of the project she invites other authors and intellectuals –writers, actors, musicians, poets, directors…– to contribute their own opinion, each one through their own medium. This is the third part of this wider project, following “Here & There”[5], and “Unlimited Potentials”[6].

Through this installation, Papacharalambous adopts an attitude indicative of her intention to undertake the responsibility owed to the collective good by an artist; to “democratize” her art, transforming it into a platform for public discussion, communication and dialogue. According to Boris Groys (Politics of Installation, e-flux journal 2008, http://www.e-flux.com/journal/view/31), even though the artistic installation creates the circumstances for a phenomenical democratization, it does not cease to follow the laws imposed by the artist, so that it is anything but democratic. In the case of Papacharalambous though, the democratization is substantial, since she invites the public, as well as other authors to actively participate in the work, without dictating specific rules, prerequisites or expectations for the final result.

The “library” of opinions gathered is presented in her work through various ways and is offered to the public without prior elaboration, in order to be evaluated, categorized and finally interpreted at will.

In consequence, the resulting work is anything but didactic. It does not define a singular, unique form of Happiness, nor an absolute knowledge or authority which possesses that, since it denies the existence of such things. In a way which references Joseph Jacotot, the 19th century Ignorant Schoolmaster, to whom Jacques Rancière pays tribute (in The Ignorant Schoolmaster / Le Maitre Ignorant, editions Fayard, 1987), Papacharalambous admits that she does not possess the answers to her questions. On the contrary, she poses them as a mere occasion to suggest a method, a path –with countless ramifications– towards knowledge, without however herself knowing where the spectator/“pupil” will be led. The spectator participates in the work, substantially and synthetically, reaching for his/her own, personal knowledge/truth.

Papacharalambous’ works are presented in this framework, in order to offer examples of her world –not as a recipe, but as a mere example, indicative of the multiple paths that can lead to multiple, as much as personal, interpretations.

An archive of cuttings from articles in newspapers and magazines, thoughts by others or herself and her children, are used as a thesaurus of fragmented ideas, instigations for introversion introspection. What is the value that time attributes to one’s personal archive –of whatever qualities– seen through the ideal of conquering Happiness? The artist attempts a retrospection, a scarification of her own archive, retrospectively realizing the meaning of the words and articles which she chose to conserve for approximately 20 years. The seeming heterogeneous multitude of information, up to now unregistered and thus inexplicable, led her to her own “here and now”. A set of instructions for life, whose meaning is allocated through time, retrospectively, and under the opportune circumstances.

The role of space and time is important in the work of Maria Papacharalambous. The first part of her trilogy “Here & There”, gives emphasis on the relationship between these two spatial adverbs. “There” is transformed into “here” if one takes out the symbol of time “t”. But isn’t the distance in time and space separating us from things enough to make us realize their true value? Enough to make us view them in the right perspective? Or to make us forget them?

“Space, like time, gives birth to forgetfulness… Time, they say, is water from the river Lethe, but alien air is a similar drink; and if its effects are less profound, it works all the more quickly.” (Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain, transl. John E. Woods, Vintage International, USA, 1995; volume 1, p. 4)

“Unlimited Potentials”… Children’s toys and clothes, drawings of birds, trees, clouds, angels… a child’s universe, assembled by objects and pieces of fabrics, transferred in a series of pieces, with a clear painterly quality. The resulting images remind us of that time in our lives, when we thought that anything was possible, for ourselves and the world around us. The handicraft quality of the works enhances the feeling of infinite possibilities, while it references the infantile and female/maternal world.

Discreet elements, four kaleidoscopes, made by the artist, function as a reference to Happiness as a concept dependent on the way we see things, as well as something that is constantly changing.

Finally, what is the value of creation, poesis, for a Happy existence?

2

Maria Kenanidou

Art historian, Curator, 2011

 

“ ILLUMI*nations* ”

 

Maria Papacharalambous' proposal within the general frame of ILLUMInations, constitutes a visual negotiation of the common human issue of the search for joy as a conceptual unification of nations, along with its realization as a process of self-illumination.

With its humanism as a connective tissue, her art brings forth the poetics of memory, common and existent through the multicultural amalgam of nations, despite any differences, heterogeneities and detrimental notions of conceiving joy as illumination, transcendence, intertwinement and uninhibitedly liberated communication between people.

As antidote, as a means of resistance against the pathology of the culture of fear, her art is neither supracosmic nor futuristical nor eschatological, but purely infracosmic. Through the guidance of information, it aims at the increased performance of social control so that she can give justice to the socio-politico-economic needs and dictates of contemporary consumerist society. She renders conventional compromises doubtful and intrudes upon the social spacetime, desiring to set into motion the unconscious mechanism producing the everyday reality of the beholder against the prepackaged notion of a seemingly belittling and mundane prognostication.

It introduces an experience of immersion, an intercontact, which combines different technical systems that replace or increase the feedback in one or more senses, multisensually, based on vision and sight.

It proposes «την των τοιούτων παθημάτων κάθαρσιν», the breaking of the shackles of the allegory of the cave in Plato's Republic, so that it fearlessly emerges into the light, frees its choices in the now, without them being influenced by possibly limiting conditions of its life in the past, by an experience devoid of meaning. It identifies itself with Plato's notion, according to which we can garner the understanding of the good and of joy through the growth of logic, judgement, and knowledge.

It attempts, in an educational way, a visual exploration of the psychointellectual level of the beholder, proposing its selfeducation as a phase of the understanding and experiential transcendence of inertia, apathy and spiritual lethargy.

With autobiographical motions, it causes sparks for moments of illumination, which can lead us to the realization of the pressing need for changing our way of living our life, with a more authentic, substantial approximation towards things, refuting materialistic aims in life as merely ways of escape from the idea that we are mortals, even though the joy of man is not bound either by matter or space.

 

Joy, as the refusal of empathy, isolation and existential distinctness of the person, of conventional, utopian beautifications and idealistic hallucinations, of social conventionalities and the accused urban preppiness, as an affirmation of the truth of man, in the open and hidden acts of resistance of its autonomous, physical individuality, of its personal otherness and liberation of people, who constitute Being.

 

>>>Interviewers / writers <<<

Name of Participant

 

Profession

Country

Veronique Sapin

Video Artist

France

Theopisti Stylianou

Academic/visual Artist

Cyprus

Stalo Petevi

Creator of Raftadiko

Cyprus

Sofia Fracala

Gynecologist

Cyprus

Socratis Panayides

Architect/psychologist

Cyprus

Sherouk Talaat

photographer

Egypt

Sara Malinarich

New Media Artist

Spain

Ricardo Mbarkho

Artist/academic

Lebanon

Philipos Philipou

Artist

Cyprus

Petros Charalambous

Film Director

Cyprus

Panayiotis Michael

Visual artist

Cyprus

Panayiota Monia

Actress

Greece

Oreet Ashery

Video artist

UK based

Nicos Chrysostomou

Education expert

Cyprus

Michales Georgiades

Film director

Cyprus

Marios Ioannou

Actor

Cyprus

Marina Makariou

Teacher

Cyprus

Marianna Kantzaras

Photographer

Tunis

Marianna Galidis

Musician & music radio producer

Cyprus

Maria Thalasinou

Writer

Cyprus

Maria Papacostantinou

Reflexology

Cyprus

Maria Panayiotou

Journalist

Cyprus

Maria Michaelidou

Personal data protection office

Cyprus

Maria Friberg

Video Artist

Sweden

Maria Epaminonda

Executive director CFPA

Cyprus

Maria Efstathiou

Artist/curator/journalist

Cyprus

Maria Charalambous

Teacher / graphic arts

Cyprus

Maria Charalambidou

Architect

Cyprus

Margie Kanter

Writer/minimal poet

USA

Manolis Prinianakis

Photographer

Greece

Manolis Famelos

Musician

Greece

Mairy Lou Stavrinou

IT

Cyprus

Lydia Hadjiacovou

curator

Greece

Logginos Panayi

Film Director

Cyprus

Loes Heebink

Video Artist

Netherlands

Lilli Michaelidou

Poet

Cyprus

Leyson Ponce

Choreographer/dancer

Venezuela

Kristen Justessen

Video Artist

Denmark

Jenny Hill

Artist

USA

Heraklis Papachristou

Architect

Cyprus

He Chengyao

Video Artist

China

Grosdanis Giannis Journalist Greece

Glaykos Koumides

Visual artist/ writer

Germany/Cyprus

Georgia Velivasaki

Singer/writer

Greece

Fotini Lamnisou

Fashion designer

Cyprus

Foivos Liasides

Managing Director of ARTos Foundation

Greece

Ellada Evaggelou

Theater

Cyprus

Eleni Theodoridou

Director/actress

Greece

Elena Stylianou

Academic / art historian

Cyprus

Elena Pavlidou

Actress

Cyprus

Eftyxia Panayiotou

poet/ philosopher

Greece

Dagmar Kace

Video artist

Estonia

Christina Theodotou Theatrologist Cyprus

Avgousta Christou

Cyprus parliament

Cyprus

Annita Toutikian

Artist

Lebanon

Anni Pattichi

Psychologist / life coach

Cyprus

Amaranda Sanchez

Artist

 

Alexis Petrou

Academic/philosopher

Cyprus

Alexia Stavrinidou

English teacher

Cyprus

Alexia Hadjistefanou

Aigaia School of fine arts / artist

Cyprus

Alaxia Paraskeva

Actress

Cyprus

Aida Eltorie

curator

Egypt

Achim      Wieland

Artist

Germany

Achilleas Kentonis

Various media artist / scientist

Cyprus

>>>Performers<<<

Name of Participant

Profession

Country

 

Vili Polizouli

Art Teacher

Greece

Thalia Stefanidou

Academic / art historian

Greece

Tassos Stylianou

classical composer/musician

Cyprus

Sakis Papademetriou

Composer

Greece

Marios Nikolaou

Percussionist / musician

Cyprus

Maria Kenanidou

Art historian / Curator

Greece

Kostas Athiridis

Composer

Greece

Giannis Gosmidis

Composer / Singer

Greece

Georgia Vasilakaki

Singer / writer

Greece

Georgia Syleou

Singer / writer

Greece

Eytyxis Eythimiou

biologist/writer

Greece

Elisavet Antapasi 

artist/set-costume designer

Greece

Eleni Theodoridou

Director / performer

Greece

Elena Pavlidou

Actress/performer

Cyprus

Despoina Gkatziou

Treatre Director / actress

Greece

Antonis Mposkoitis

Film Director / Journalist

Greece

Andreas Moustoulis

classical composer/musician

Cyprus

Achilleas Kentonis

Scientist /various media artist

Cyprus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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