XENION – SUMMONING FAMILIARITY
EXHIBITION AT THE
MATCH MORE GALLERY,
– exhibition at Sabbionara Gallery, Hania, July,2016
Hercules Papadakis is a man for all seasons. While prejudice and petty restrictions proliferate, he responds with openness and warmth to nature, the plight of people under stress, the talent of others and to potential awaiting expression.
Artist, photographer, playwright and poet, his feelings flow with unpretentious relevance through his works in the exhibition IDEAS UNLIMITED at the Sabbionara Gallery, Hania. He fearlessly defies limitation. He sees society shrinking – free thought, action and idea prone to wither in the wake of increasing constriction. But he is creatively positive. “I hope the exhibition shows how ideas can be unlimited and expressed in many ways and mediums. Ideas have no borders,” he says.
Also showing in this exhibition, with equally positive interpretations, were Maria Malaxianaki (Ma.Ma) with works inspired by dance, and Linda Talbot, whose series “Succubus” is based on the mythical demon-woman who seduced and demolished men.
The work of Hercules – an Athenian now living in Hania, challenges the cossetting of convention with mixed media, skilfully recycled and constructed.
He explains, “Since I was a child I liked to mix materials and make new compositions with natural elements, collecting rocks, dried plants and shells from the sea.”
In this exhibition he shows “Thalassa” – his series prompted by the movement of the sea. He says, “I chose this after being inspired during one of my meditation weeks, living outdoors. This is the first of my “elements” trilogy because of the sea’s symbolism; change, liquidity, movement and unpredictability. This was my first idea because my country and the whole world lives in this situation more and more. And because of this symbolism, I decided to follow it with “Sky and Earth”, then “Wind and Fire.” I’d love these to be three dimensional and I intend to use natural materials for these too.”
He uses his photographs with found objects, from clothing and stones to glass and bits of sponge. As a graphic designer, he makes computerised changes to his photos and designs but only marginally because he loves the precision of nature.
Most beaches in this series are found around Hania and many works use frames within the composition to focus on one aspect. He explains, “I make some frames from natural materials. Others are photographed by me and put through a graphic process.”
In his other series “Beyond Limits” one delicate frame notably accompanies a sea daffodil. “This was an old frame I found in a rubbish tip. I photographed it because I liked it.”
Outstanding in this second series is a flying figure in a swirl of colour by the sea. “This is a woman dancer, lifted on her partner’s arms. I loved the freedom of the movement and I decided to make a combination with the freedom of the sea waves. It contains love, trust and balance,” he says.
He considers the role of art in changing people’s outlook.
“Our societies through the ages have been trained and tested in various conditions. I’ve seen how this acquired knowledge has led to limitations. I believe art can give people the experience of unlimited possibilities and exemplifies the ways of expression. It is a release but it takes time.”
He also gives workshops on personal development, which tackle these issues. And he belongs to Hania’s International Poetry Society which explores personal and social issues.
Hercules designs and makes clothes too, from T shirts to fine shawls. Once he designed a set of men’s underwear and experimented with T shirts using leather, buttons and string. “I use all kinds of fabric. I use economical materials, re-using and recycling. It’s important they have already completed one cycle and I give them another with certain interventions. I print my artworks on them so one can enjoy wearing them. I do this on furniture too.”
Concluding, he says, “ I love nature, its expressions and the effect it has on people and their relationships. So in my art I’m involved with the blessing that everyone may receive by observing nature and in my workshops I study the relationship of man with himself, his body and others, as well as the physical health that comes from the harmonious flow of all these.”
In Maria’s work, women are dominant, doubtful or suggesting disdain, trapped in compositions that tease and intrigue. Where one figure might end, another emerges within an interwoven pattern that is tireless; lilting into ultimate cohesion. All imagery is linked by an intricate language of line.
Maria is an excellent exponent of Japanese Butoh dance, which influences her art. In paint and pen, her works are untitled yet eloquent, whether conceived in bright colour or starkly black and white. The exploratory potential of line leads to rhythmic complexities and potent visual challenge. She is spontaneous yet disciplined; images undulate and weave with emotion and fleeting thought.
Combinations of line and clearly or dimly perceived form, may be ambivalent, sometimes humorous, interacting with the viewer’s imagination. This is not a statement of the obvious but the exploration of enigmatic exchange with hints of dance enhanced by her use of teasing tangents. And, appropriately each work flows with the lyricism of her stage craft.
She begins with an instinctive wash of colour.
“I have no plan for a picture,” she admits. “I start with shapes and an image instantly appears. It might be a figure, a house, an animal. I follow the shape and it changes. I follow that so it changes again. Sometimes I leave a picture unfinished for months, come back too it and it changes yet again.”
Each segment of design is assiduously patterned; spirals, loops, geometric elements, swirling in an obsessively decorative dimension.
“I work basically for pleasure but sometimes in a meditative mood,” she explains. There are two works consisting of countless gold and silver squares, an evolution of repetitive calm yet imbued with life.
She says,“When I’m working like this I am totally in the moment. I’m unaware of past and future – completely involved. It brings me to a place where there is no distance or time or space. When I dance I’m in the same frame of mind.”
She has the gift of combining originality, tenacious technique and lyricism, creating a powerful personal dimension.
Maria gave a special performance of Butoh during the exhibition.
The Succubus was not a temptation to be entertained. Dreamed up by misogynists in the medieval church, she could glibly seduce men, only to maliciously destroy.
In her collection of collages “Succubus”, Linda Talbot depicts her in many guises, from an apparition in a rose garden to a wandering woman of the desert.
She may appear in a swirl of clamourous colour to lure a lone walker. She throws an orgy in a swimming pool. She demolishes an unsuspecting anatomist.
She is often marred by some irregularity; the lack of a finger, different coloured eyes, sudden invisibility and one of Linda’s has a weird “familiar” (as a witch had a black cat). She is irresistible but somehow “off centre”.
The show became a full blown arts festival with song, dance, poetry, a fashion show and a book launch. Medicine was collected for Doctors of the World and food for Hania’s Social Kitchen. Proceeds from prints and cards went to a fund to help refugees and others in need, including The Ark of the World, a shelter for mothers and children in Athens.
This show then transferred for a week to St George’s Gate in Iraklion.