Visual Artist

Maria Papacharalambous

“Portraits II” presented at:

  • PLATFORMS PROJECT 17 at  Center of Art Charilaou Trikoupi, Athens, Greece
  • at Euphoria Revised, in the framework of Paphos 17 at the Old Electricity Authority, Paphos
  • at the solo exhibition Portraits- My Heterotopia in 2019 at the Fondazzjoni Kreattivita (Spazju Kreattiv), Valletta, Malta
  • at the solo retrospective exhibition woanders in 2021 at The Lefteris Economou Cultural Foundation, Nicosia 
  • at PLATFORMS PROJECT 22, at “Nikos Kessanlis” Exhibition Hall of Athens School of Fine Arts, Athens, Greece

Portaits II: A sociopolitical reflection

In her new work, Maria Papacharalambous negotiates the challenge of truth-seeking as it is traversed by the experience of free creation of something out of nothing. It is on this path that she composes soft sculptures mainly consisting of recovered cloths and objects, which she uses as a colour and building palette.

The methodology that the artist follows in an inspired metaphor of an ethical concern that can be described as the search of an intersubjective awakening through the problematic of transformation; how can we change ourselves and [in turn] the world, so that we don’t have to live in an environment that we have rendered inhospitable? Energising man’s capabilities to think, to retain and share stories and wisdom, she puts us on a horizon of joyful play and humour. The installation acts as an exercise of banishment of universal suffering and pain. In this series of work, the method is focused on a special patchwork, where the cloth and other materials, which signify life in all its facets, establish a measurement pattern: they are used as a starting point for the delimitation of the scale and the characteristics of each sculpture. This poetic recovery co-exists with ‘Manual Ψ’ that likens the sculptures to people’s personalities and invites us to a game of exploration and identification.

Papacharalambous manifests the problematic of transformation formalistically through sculptures that can be readjusted in any space and through the usage of the snake as symbol, the serpent that sheds its skin through painful procedures or a caterpillar, which essentially changes its nature. She thus invites and causes the power of the human nous to travel to places where the operations of a rational understanding of the timeless now are made possible through an intense preoccupation with metaphorical/transformational schemata. 

Her practice seeks to materialise and follow an art of living that denies today’s commercialised reality and instead allies itself with liquid fragments - philosophical, historical and personal, like the clothes that a family of 1974 refugees was wearing, before leaving the island in order to migrate to Australia. She is trying to offer us practices that commit us to the hope of alchemic mutation, with praxis at their core. These practices, according to Papacharalambous, must have a cathartic role; to cause, in effect, the liberation of the mind from the various follies of everyday experience and to actively battle in favour of a search for truth. A truth inline with the natural laws of chaos and multiplicity that will allow us to move away from the nihilism implicit in viewing subjective depth as its measure.

The alliance of truth seeking, of creative work and the reconstruction of fragments in a way that does not lead back to an ‘I’ but to a ‘We’, create the coordinates of a eutopia: a real place within which we can consciously envision and act towards the banishment of superstition.

Text by Evagoras Vanezis 



Euphoria Revised 2017



Portraits: My own Heterotopia, Maria Papacharalambous

Curated by Evagoras Vanezis, Graphics by Nico Stephou  

Spazju Kreattiv, 06 – 30 June 2019 

“He who cannot love, can never transform the serpent, and then nothing is changed”. Carl Jung

Papacharalambous has been engaged with and studying the theme of transformation for quite some time. Questioning the rigid lines of separation between artistic, philosophical and scientific research, her goal is to co-create social spaces of Eudaimonia (ευ-δαιμονία: of good spirits and prosperity). We are thus invited to enter another, heterotopic space, where our demons can be transformed into positive traits and where we can be tuned into a collective enterprise of adding positive valences to the world that surrounds us.      

The soft sculptures presented were created out of the artist’s wish to paint without using the traditional materials of a painter. All the materials used have been found; collected over many years and sewed together to create an experience that harnesses the symbolic power of natural processes of transformation, like that of snakes shedding their skins. Sometimes imbued with materials that carry a difficult history (like refugees’ clothes, remnants of periods of mourning), she rehearses ways for a new connection between the ‘I’ and the ‘We’ and brings together heterogeneous elements in order to discover harmonious and hidden commonalities that lead to Truth (Α-λήθεια) and a forgotten well-being (ευ-ζην).

Humour plays an important role, as it brings a light-heartedness to the collective labour of transformation and allows the work to remain almost weightless and without darkness. The exhibition space is only complete when the viewers come into contact with the works and partake in the process of uncovering new techniques and processes of transforming consciousness and the world around us.  




Woanders 2021