Daphni Yiayiannou on the solo exhibition «Here in the South…»

Daphni Yiayiannou

”A well-knit tie is the first serious step
in a person’s life” —Oscar Wilde

A tie is a piece of “fragile” silk cloth, that is not enough to cover or protect the naked chest. In this piece of clothing, meanings, symbolism and values of such quantity and size are concentrated in an almost magical way. Being perhaps the most unnecessary accessory of -not only – men’s clothing, the tie was transformed into a global symbol of power, strength, domination and sexuality. Regardless of the different trends, its symbolic value was shaped despite its practicality: From an military uniform accessory of the Croatian mercenaries of the 17th century and the Order of the Royal Cravates, to a gentleman’s and successful businessman’s integral accessory – the tie has evolved over time into a kind of award, a distinctive that one can wear on one’s own.

”If someone steps on your tie, it’s your fault,
because it’s you who knelt down” —Karl Lagerfeld

At first glance, one gets the impression that Maria Stamati has a 180 degrees turn with her new job, compared to her two previous presentations. Indeed, the “Complex, Adjacent, Unique” and “In the middle of night, in the middle of day” exhibitions were an introspection, a look and an inward exploration, the illustration, in essence, of an imaginary reality. This time, the artist stands clearly in front of the world and comments the real reality, our daily life in Greece of the crisis, the fate of Europe, the political scene with humor, with sarcasm and above all with elegance. The tie has replaced the white canvas. However, the use of the tie is not exhausted by simply framing the political comment of the artist. Maria Stamati exploits the symbolically charged nature of the object and she uses it accordingly. The tie acts as a necktie; in other works, as a leash: a persistent reminder that the system holds whoever wears it from the neck. A leash that in several works becomes a loop: from a control instrument, a deadly weapon. In other works, she seems to embrace the theme with tenderness, underlining its primary function: a farewell gift from the soldiers’ women, as the latter left to go to war, a symbol of mutual faith that all difficulties and dangers will be overcome.

”The sad tie you wear and it adorns you, civilized,
take it off, if you want to breathe” —Guillaume Apollinaire

A second reading of Stamati’s work lets us see behind the obvious political comment (and at the same time unprecedented, in terms of the clear poetic tone of her previous exhibitions). The artist suggests. A common denominator of all works is an implicit fragile balance: The tie closes the area of emotion. It’s a well-secured personality lock, one might say. The tying of the knot, in all its 85 variants, is a logical and calculated process, an indication of moderation, limit and discipline that guards it. Removing the tie equals to accessing the content. The proposed solution is revealed as a hint behind the use of the tie, as well as the connection with the artist’s previous work: the change, the overthrow, the healing, the improvement starts from inside. The first step is done internally, on a personal level. It is, where “the development of doubt in front of a forest of the established” is born.

Daphni Yiayiannou

Daphni Yiayiannou on the solo exhibition «Here in the South…»nikos