Passage, Voix, Désir

12/03 > 07/05 2016

The Galerie Mitterrand is delighted to announce a new exhibition by Greek artist Marina Karella. Entitled Passage, Voix, Désir, it combines an ensemble of recent paintings loosely inspired by the poetry of Constantin Cavafy (1863-1933).

Marina Karella is a multidisciplinary artist, a painter and sculptor, who began her career creating costumes and sets for the theatre and cinema. She acquired her training from her mentor Yannis Tsarouchis, which accounts for her figurative painting with its Symbolist and Expressionist undertones. Her work is recognizable by its luminous representations where the light radiates and blurs our perception. Her interior scenes, seascapes and portraits all evoke a certain sense of strangeness, vacillating between appearance and partially erased memory. The series of draped works produced between 1970 and 1980, painted but also sculpted, bear testimony to the mysterious dimension of Marina Karella’s work: she materializes the presence of an absent body and celebrates the half-abstract, half-figurative timelessness of the drapery. The artist is also known for her watercolour portraits done on several sheets of paper and put together like a collage. In her recent works, Marina Karella paints dreamlike, almost abstract, landscapes and her quotations are more intentionally endowed with a poetic dimension.

For her exhibition Passage, Voix, Désir, Marina Karella presents a new ensemble of paintings that express an idealized vision of nature and man. A veritable tribute to classical beauty, the paintings represent the young men who occupy the passionate poetry of Greek poet Constantin Cavafy, the bard of ‘corporeity’ and the exaltation of the nude male, also a recurring feature in Tsarouchis’ work. Spectators are plunged into the nostalgic, sensual and intimate universe of the poet. One finds the finesse, innocence and spiritualism of the great masters of Symbolism, from Burne-Jones to Puvis de Chavannes. With her exhibition, Marina Karella takes us on a wonderful journey to the heart of Cavafian eroticism. Her good friend Niki de Saint Phalle, wrote to her in a letter in 1993: Marina, […] Like Cavafy’s poems your paintings are full of life – fleeting life. […] The mystery remains, the mystery necessary to all true art.’

Marina Karella was born in 1940 in Athens, Greece. She lives and works in Greece. She acquired her training in Athens as Yannis Tsarouchis’ assistant, and later at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris where she settled in 1972. Her work has been exhibited in numerous art institutions and museums including the Museum of Contemporary Art Thessaloniki (2013), the Benaki Museum, Athens (2005), the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris (1992), the Iolas Gallery, New York (1982), the Centre George Pompidou, Paris (1979), etc. Some of her works are part of the permanent collections of the Centre Pompidou, the Vorres Museum in Athens, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid and the Yokohama Center in Japan. It is also included in several private collections.