Το Βλέμμα, The Gaze, 2022, Silver gelatin print, hand printed by the artist
In November 2022, I went to Paris and visited the Musée de l’Orangerie. In a room full of visitors that came to gather around some of the most recognizable works of art in the history of art making, I had the following thought:
The painting is not the surface of meaning but the portal of thought. This portal cannot be activated without the viewer who embodies sight in space, holding the position of another portal through which meaning travels. Subjective seeing has the power of shaping, creating the perfect conditions for wonder to occur. In that way, Meaning becomes Movement that never sits nor dissolves but becomes constantly through traveling from one portal of meaning to another and, in that way, never stays the same. The painting can never stop its process of becoming as long as it is in a condition of being gazed.
Notes and Thoughts Around Things, 2023
This text is a collage between my thoughts around things, as well as thoughts of others that I read in books in the last nine months. This text contains my thoughts and the thoughts of Virginia Woolf, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Clarice Lispector, Anna Tsing, Amy Sillman, Peter Galison, Brian Dillon, John Kelsey, Peter Halley, George Kubler, Susanne Langer, John Berger, Giorgio Agamben, Aldous Huxley, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Nicolas Bourriaud, and Thomas Nagel.
1. All of the conditions that surround this type of painting, become part of what it is. When this occurrence happens organically and harmoniously, the work becomes a thing that bubbles. This type of painting is about a trembling, that which is not obvious, capturing the present. “The world trembles in every direction”. It is about the behaviour of painting, painting as a trace, as performance documentation. This type of painting is about capturing a longer duration, by way of freezing the ephemeral and the abstract into a single moment. Even at their most abstract, these are always paintings of something. Behind these canvases, there is an artist occupying real time and space and looking: The paintings represent embodied sight. This type of painting is about the emergence of an event in the image. There might be a painting totally free of dependence on the figure which like music illustrates nothing, tells no story, launches no myth.
2. Language should be a bridge but on too many occasions it proves to be an island. This could be called the metamorphosis of gaps. Gaps rather than voids, because a void already hypostizes its emptiness as completeness, it exists in relation. “A void is thus always aspiring to the status of an object, whereas a gap is in time or in language. It’s a spacing that telescopes in and out of a structure , and may give an impetus for connecting beyond it”.
3. Properly written texts are like spider webs; tight, concentric, transparent, well- spun and firm. They draw into themselves all the creatures of the air. Metaphors flitting hastily through them become nourishing prey subject matter comes winging towards them, creating a delicate, murderous tension”. The web is a process.
4.When one makes a work of art, one is often making space. It becomes part of “an a-synchronic present where time is condensed, its order is abridged and its meaning is discarded, a polyphonic chorus of meanings and not meanings”. Each work is a chain of unions, of meetings, of events, giving to and receiving each other so that their sum total is a single event which is full of different rhythms. The polyphonic assemblage is the gathering of these rhythms. Essentially, “when utterances become sentences”.
5.“Producing a form is to invent possible realities”. Form can be described as a lasting encounter. It is a dynamic that is included in time and space. It is a trace in the air, similar to the visual trace of a speeding train that passes right by you, that which, like the present time itself, is only felt as a gentle wind that for a second touched one’s shoulder.
6.“Symbols are not proxy for their objects but they are vehicles for the conception of objects. Grammatical structure is a further source of significance. We cannot call it a symbol since it is not even a term, but it has a symbolic mission. It ties together several symbols, each with at least a fragmentary connotation of its own, whose meaning is a special constellation of all the connotations involved”.
These are extracts from two longer texts – Το Βλέμμα, The Gaze (2022) and Light House (2023) – written by Pavlou. Various parts of the texts will be used across the exhibition in Athens and its forthcoming continuation in London.
Anastasia Pavlou (b. 1993, Athens, Greece) is a painter based in Basel. She completed her MFA at the FHNW HGK Institut Kunst Gender Natur earlier this year, participating in exhibitions at Kunsthalle Basel and Ausstellungsraum Klingental during her time at the school. Recently, she had a solo presentation with the gallery at Liste in Basel, which was the first time Pavlou showed her most recent body of work. She will exhibit further works from this series in her upcoming shows at Hot Wheels in Athens and the gallery’s inaugural exhibition at its new space in London. Pavlou was notably the youngest artist in The Same River Twice – a survey show of the Greek art scene curated by Margot Norton and Natalie Bell at the Benaki Museum (Athens, 2019) – and the youngest artist included in the DESTE Collection.