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Using little pieces of wood, sand, earth, sections of corroded metal, straw and sections of cardboard, lengths of string and brushes – together with all the other things that use and time have forgotten and thrown away – Aglaia Christianou creates a new reader for life and for ways of approaching memory and nature.

Her images stem from sensations and the things to which they correspond, from wanderings and encounters, from the reminiscences and impressions recorded in the past of childhood – a childhood of transformation, in which the humblest things of earth become all that is marvelous and unrivalled beneath the vaults of the dream. Her inclination is not towards nostalgia: through tenderness and tactile contact, she rediscovers the forgotten “performance” made up of a microcosm of incidents in a lost innocence, springing from a time when the tragic and the amusing, everyday and transcendental events, and familiarity and fantasy balanced between the plain and the invisible. The figures of domestic and farm animals return through the meadows and paths of the subconscious, bring with them the sights, the smells and the mixed joy and sorrow of beings which narrated the hours and days of guileless yet restless observation.

Aglaia Christianou does not indulge in reverie. In the earthiness and paradoxicality of birth and annihilation she explores the enigmas and patterns of acceptance and revolt. With humour and poetry, with the irony of fate and self-directed sarcasm, the freedom of country life and the conventionality of life in the city are married in coincidental incidents and asymptotic states. On the slates once used by school-children to write their first letters upon, or using cardboard boxes, tin cans, bird’s eggs and pebbles, and even with the seeds of fruit, she creates and demolishes, she assesses and anatomises, she peers with us at souvenirs and amulets in which old meanings are contained, and upturns them. Aglaia Christianou elaborates her components by reorganising and adjusting them as a weaver would the knots of thread, thus producing a carpet of motifs and meanings.

Her “carpet” consists of masses of relief and colour, which strike us as forming mats or shrines: these self-contained little incidents in stories within allegories of strange encounters can be seen struggling to create new correlations in an atmosphere of mystery and human warmth. The works function like medieval vigilatoria, each showing us a puzzle whose sections complement one another while at the same time subverting the whole.
Emotional “landscapes” which encapsulate the life and times of an entire order of things allusively impose their presence on the eye. This order of things, one of apparent calm and subterranean vibration latent in memories and experiences resting deep in “the sweet years of youth”, suddenly rises in revolt and escapes.

The animals and the beetles, the pages from fairytales and the fields, the haystacks and the mist, the nests and the shelters, the pits and the beehives all reconcile themselves, without further ado, with the domestic utensils and the mousetraps, shaking off the haze of mystery they once possessed in order to inhabit a different earth, a different country. They rise up in search of the things of which they have been deprived, and seek to find them in the everyday joy of independence. The terra meravigliosa of the little things interwoven with the grand stories which once entrapped them now becomes a new terra humana, whose map shows the sings of the human breath and of low whispers about new conquests. The succession and co-existence of fragmentary incidents and unexpected coincidences of “things generated” becoming images and of images being transformed into subterranean eruptions and action upon action, in a labyrinth of itineraries, all combine to create the syntax of the new system. A new reality is born out of its own ashes and forgetfulness, out of the refuges and habitants of human warmth and anarchy.

Athena Schina