mercredi 25 mai 2016

"Full screen" drawings 2008-2012






2009       183 x 207 cm       Charcoal on canvas



2009     View of the studio

2008        183 x 207 cm       Charcoal on canvas

2012- 2016    210 x 250 cm    Charcoal on canvas


2011  "Belle vue" Ileana Tounta contemporary art center


2008   " Charcoal overload"   Ileana Tounta contemporary art center



2012         216 x 260 cm     Charcoal on canvas


2007-2012     220 x 280 cm      Charcoal on canvas


And the stairs are made of paper

The shadow 
There once was a man whose shadow was blacker than others.  As a child, this singled him out from his entourage.  One beautiful spring day everyone was out dancing in the sun's warm rays. Suddenly, like a beam crossing the area where they were romping about, his darker shadow caused them to stumble.  Needless to say, he felt this stroke very strongly.  As an adult he could no longer do without this distinction.  As soon as the slightest ray of sun came out from behind the clouds, he walked head held high through the streets enjoying the effect he caused.  One day, when the shadow was perhaps at its darkest, blacker that ever, he caught fire.  And that is all that we know of his story. 

The flesh 
The attraction of drawing, says Jean Luc Nancy, is the line formed when two lips touch.  Where there is drawing, there is no longer speech.  Drawing silences.  There are several ways to confront it.  You can follow the lines.  Look for rhizomic sense in the branches and admire the white sky that lies behind.  Or you can drown in the blackness of the line.  Widening out instead of drawing further on.  Opening up.  And then, while waiting for a cry or song that might come out of the gap's deep darkness, air touches us.  Air that is inseparable from the flesh of the drawing. 

The surface
"Water has no beams" is a German expression.  The surface of water doesn't support someone who cannot swim.  However, depending on the speed with which a body meets the surface, it solidifies, becomes impenetrable, hits us.  To the eye, this surface is also solid, structured by waves, shadows, reflections.  It's as if the eye rubs the surface and rubbing against it causes images to appear.  The water is then, in fact, a support.  Until the moment when you slip in and realise that, of course, all these beams do not bear weight.  They call. 

The body of black – epilogue 
Katerina Christidi works with black.  She uses the tools of a painter to make drawings on large canvases stretched directly on the wall.  They are not abstract.  They're a figuration of the body and the body of the drawing.  She uses charcoal to make the black, attested to by the traces of black dust in her atelier.  Her method is to connect ends to ends.  She draws, takes notes on bits of paper, finds other images, other notes.  Joins them together.  And then gets to work on a large drawing.  Here we have some of her recipes for drawing.  And the texts are a way to get closer to those drawings, to experience them.  They create a visual effect, of course.  And also a narrative experience in the recognition of oddly familiar images.  Then there is still another element.  One the artist produces through the physical, narrative, mythical dimensions of the drawings.  The sense of touch.   Her drawings touch this body of black.  They embody the touch.  This body, so fragile that if you insist too much, you will break the tip of your nose.  Nevertheless, reach out your hand – be touched. 

May 2015, Paris
J. Emil Sennewald


Translation: Timothy Perkins




                                                       Copyright OSDEETE Athens/  ADAGP  Paris

3 commentaires:

  1. The starting point of my research concentrates on the instability that the human figure inspires me through the expression of a hazy mental state ,made up of fragile, tense and humorous relationships. This state is based on the representation of solitary and deformed figures inhabitants of a world that is not readily recognizable. These figures are subjected to interior or exterior mechanisms which shake about or deform faces and bodies, accompanied by protective and disturbing enigmatic shapes.



    "Dans les dessins de Katerina Christidi nous sommes face à un univers fantomal et onirique où le minéral prend corps ou plutôt prend figure sur un versant grotesque et inquiètent par le fait même que ces figures entretiennent une contiguïté tant au minéral qu à l’humain. C’est cette latence de ce qui est au bord de la pétrification tout en étant comme irrigué par une part d’humanité qui donne l’ambivalence fascinante de ces formes. Le trait, saturé jusqu’au noir dense ou au contraire d’une transparence accentuant un sentiment d’immatérialité, participe de cette ambiguïté des formes qui campent entre hantise et apparition".


    Philippe Cyroulnik pour l’exposition « Incarnations » au « 19 », Centre régional d’art contemporain, octobre 2011.

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  2. The notion of the grotesque, which is latent in the previous work of Katerina Christidi, plays a far more important role in her latest charcoals on canvass. The figures, which are the focus point of the representations, as in classical portraits seen from a frontal or three-quarter point of view, each have a grotesque pop slant to them, inspired by comics: oversize noses or ears, eyes which are proportionally reduced or displaced within the face, a simplified positioning of the arms, and hands which are scantily indicated, or hair which doesn't seem to be actually attached to the head, or tumbles down like a waterfall. This grotesque pop slant within the work positions Christidi as a direct descendent of Alfred Jarry (whose Father Ubu came from adolescent drawings inspired by carnival caricature and literature) and Philip Guston (whose hooded figures reveal the influence of a Robert Crumb style of counter-culture). It is also a change of tack in relation to her previous work on the grotesque as a form of expression which is both a comical and dramatic composite of the bizarre, marked by the examples of Goya or Odilon Redon. These new figures are less dramatic in their composition, their relation to the space of the drawing and their formal definition, and yet in spite of this are not more comical. They preserve the essential dimension of the grotesque, the feeling of instability due to the tension between anxiety or existential discomfort, and the capricious responding laughter which shakes about or deforms the faces and bodies into almost monstrous figures.

    They succeed in preserving this dimension thanks to a surprising balance between the grotesque character of the figures and the pictorial intensity of the drawing. Often immediately visible, the figures are produced, held and maintained in suspense, at the same time, by a succession of vertical charcoal traits. These grey traits avoid, in contrast to previous drawings, any effect of contrast or dramatization, producing a unity of the image, brought about by the fact that the entire surface is covered. The result is a double tension between the grotesque aspect of the figures and an intuitively creative process which is physically constraining, just as between an optical and tactile perception of the figurative and material qualities of the works. If, in the majority of the latest drawings, one is able to rapidly comprehend the figures, the vertical traits which have defined them, also occupy a consequential visual place in the apprehension that one has of the image as a whole. These traits have a material and tangible weight due to their positioning on the canvass which has been prepared with glue. The result is that they are detached from the ground surface, which the viewer can appreciate when he comes close and notices how the surface is like roughly waves breaking and, if he looks on a slant, how there exists an entrenched succession of variations of intense grey within the vertical traits. Instability as the essential dimension of the grotesque is therefore not only produced by the malformed figures but by the very process of creation. It is within this remarkable tension, without a touch of over-dramatization that the real quality of these works abounds. It is what confirms the singularity and the adventurous character of Katerina Christidi's approach. Without conceding anything to the facile character engendering the false alternative opposing grotesque postures synonym of "trash" idiocy to a certain decorative and innocuous normalization of neo-pop, this new series assuredly situates her approach amongst the most interesting in the artistic context today. Tristan Trémeau Art critic, PhD in art history, teaches at Paris 1 Sorbonne University.

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  3. La question du grotesque, latente dans les œuvres antérieures de Katerina Christidi (dessins quotidiens) occupe une place centrale dans ces derniers fusains sur toile. Les figures qui occupent le centre de la représentation tels des portraits classiques vus de face ou de trois-quarts, portent tous les signes d’une veine grotesque pop, inspirée par les bandes dessinées : nez ou oreilles surdimensionnées, yeux proportionnellement réduits ou déplacés dans le visage, gestuelle simple ou des bras et des mains sommairement indiqués, chevelures indépendantes des crânes ou tombant en cascade. Cette vaine grotesque pop, qui situe Christidi dans un héritage d’Alfred Jarry (dont le Père est né de dessins d’adolescents inspirés par la caricature et le carnavalesque) et de Philip Guston (dont les figures cagoulés traduisent une influence de la contre culture à la Robert Crumb) opère un déplacement par rapport à son approche antérieure du grotesque comme expression à la fois comique et dramatique du composite st du bizarre, marquée par les exemples de Goya ou d’Odilon Redon. Moins dramatiques dans leur composition, leur rapport à l’espace du dessin et leur définition formelle, ces nouvelles figures n’en sont pas pour autant plus comiques Elles préservent la dimension essentielle du grotesque, le sentiment d’instabilité né d’une tension entre angoisse ou le malaise existentielle et la réponse capricieuse du rire qui secoue ou déforme les visages et les corps en figures quasi monstrueuses.

    Elles la préservent en raison d’un équilibre étonnant entre le caractère grotesque des figures et l’intensité picturale du dessin. Souvent immédiatement visibles, les figures sont produites, retenues et maintenues en suspens, dans le même temps, par une succession de tracés verticaux au fusain. Ces tracés gris évitent, contrairement aux dessins antérieurs, tout effet de contraste et de dramatisation, au profit d’une unité de l’image qui passe par un investissement total de la surface. Il en résulte une double tension entre l’aspect grotesque des figures et l’intuition d’un processus de création physiquement contraignant, ainsi qu’entre une perception optique et tactile des qualités figuratives et matérielles des œuvres. Si, dans la majorité des derniers dessins, les figures se livrent à l’entendement assez vite, les tracés verticaux qui ont concouru à leur définition occupent aussi une place visuelle conséquente dans l’appréhension que l’on a de l’image dans son ensemble. Ces tracés ont un poids matériel tangible dû à leur apposition sur une toile apprêtée à la colle. Résultat, ils se détachent du support, ce que le regardeur vérifie lorsqu’il s’approche des œuvres pour en apprécier le moutonnement rugueux de surface et, s’il biaise un peu, la succession tranchée de tracés verticaux plus ou moins intenses dans les gris. L’instabilité comme dimension essentielle du grotesque n’est pas seulement produite par les figures difformes mais par le processus même de la création.

    Dans cette remarquable tension sans dramatisation réside la qualité première de ces œuvres qui confirment la singularité et le caractère aventureux de la démarche de Katerina Christidi. Ne cédant rien aux facilités qu’engendre la fausse alternative qu’opposent des postures grotesques synonymes d’idiotie « trash » à une certaine normalisation décorative et anodine du néo-pop, cette nouvelle série installe assurément cette démarche parmi les plus intéressantes dans le contexte artistique actuel.


    Tristan Trémeau
    Critique d’art, docteur en histoire de l’art, enseignant à l’université de Paris 1 Sorbonne

    ¨Pour le catalogue de l’exposition « Charcoal overload »au Centre d’Art Contemporain « Ileana Tounta », Athènes 2008.

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