DeAnna Maganias

Selected works from the solo exhibition:

DeAnna Maganias: Something is in the house

20 May 2016 – 10 January 2017

Something is in the house, 2016, ceramic tiles (700 pieces) 300 × 500 cm

Rebecca Camhi Gallery

Leonidou 9, Metaxourgeio
Athens 10437, Greece

DeAnna Maganias’ exhibit entitled, “Something is in the house” features a selection of works from 2011 to 2016. They are about the abstract nature of the cosmos surrounding us, versus a seemingly predictable reality. Ranging from architectural installation, collage, photography and video, these works use humor and existential darkness in the search for the representation of the unknown.

Each of DeAnna Maganias’ works begin with an abstract idea or concept: in some cases this derives from a subtle shift in perceived or mundane reality; in others fundamental ideas of astronomy/astrophysics serve as starting points.

The works take form through a dialogue with the initial idea, and the evolving process of creating the object. Often involving obsessive repetition and accumulation, the process is made apparent in the end product: the finished pieces are rigorous in the physical presence they assert.

(left to right) The Geometry of an infinite storm / Saturn South Pole, 2016, mixed media 65 × 65 × 65 cm; The Geometry of an infinite storm / Jupiter, 2016, mixed media 65 × 65 × 65 cm; Something is in the house, 2016, ceramic tiles (700 pieces) 300 × 500 cm

(left to right) In a Sibyl’s galaxy, 2010-2012, mixed media on paper, 196 × 150 cm; The Geometry of an infinite storm / Jupiter Polar Winds, 2016, mixed media 65 × 65 × 65 cm; The Geometry of an infinite storm / Saturn North Pole, 2016, mixed media 65 × 65 × 65 cm; The Geometry of an infinite storm / Saturn South Pole, 2016, mixed media 65 × 65 × 65 cm; The Geometry of an infinite storm / Jupiter, 2016, mixed media 65 × 65 × 65 cm

DeAnna Maganias: ‘Something is in the house’ installation view

Something is in the house (white), 2015, acrylic on canvas, 102 × 76 cm

(left to right) Sirius / Peleponnese, 2007-2016, inkjet on paper, 70 × 70 cm; Peleponnese / Sirius, 2007-2016, inkjet on paper, 70 × 70 cm; In a Sibyl’s galaxy, 2010-2012, mixed media on paper, 196 × 150 cm

DeAnna Maganias: ‘Something is in the house’ installation view

Dark energy dark matter, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 76 × 102 cm (detail)

DeAnna Maganias: ‘Something is in the house’ installation view

Something yet unknown, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 142 × 130 cm (detail)

The Geometry of an infinite storm / Jupiter, 2016, mixed media 65 × 65 × 65 cm;

In a Sibyl’s galaxy, 2010-2012, mixed media on paper, 196 × 150 cm; The Geometry of an infinite storm / Saturn North Pole, 2016, mixed media 65 × 65 × 65 cm

Sirius / Peleponnese, 2007-2016, inkjet on paper, 70 × 70 cm; Peleponnese / Sirius, 2007-2016, inkjet on paper, 70 × 70 cm; Trifid Nebula / Spetses c7000 BC- 2014 AD, inkjet on paper, 70 × 70 cm; Spetses / Trifid Nebula c7000 BC- 2014 AD, inkjet on paper, 70 × 70 cm

selected works:

Hollow Mountain, ΠΕΝΤΕΛΗ

2011-2013

Hollow mountain ‘ΠΕΝΤΕΛΗ’ (Pendeli) installation view at Thessaloniki Biennial, 2013

In the Ancient Greek world Pendelic marble was considered the finest for its purity and glowing white colour. The world renowned marble was used in the construction of many important buildings including the Parthenon and sculptures of the Golden Age.

The ancient quarry of Pendeli was officially closed in the 1970s, but before that, Pendelic marble was used for sinks, bathtubs, kitchen counters and other architectural details during the vast urbanbuilding boom of Athens during the 1950s through 70s. Now, though the extraction of Pendlic marble is unlawful, the marble known as “Dionisiou” is quarried from another side of the same mountain, and is used for all types of construction and objects.

The work, Hollow mountain, uses pieces collected from the vast discarded marble found in various small industries for stone on the outskirts of Athens: bits and pieces of kitchen sinks form the letters of the name ‘ΠΕΝΤΕΛΗ’. The marble is placed on the ground and each letter is 50×150×100 cm.

Hollow mountain is a monument to Pendeli, refering to the appropriation and transformation of ancient ruins. The sculpture is also about waste and destroyed landscape – literally, and as a metaphor for values, that have been exchanged in the interest of the building-industry’s throw-away mentality and the urban reality that has resulted.

Hollow mountain – monument to Pendeli, 2011-2013

The National Holocaust Memorial, Athens

Permanent installation, inaugurated May 2010

The National memorial in honor of the Greek-Jewish victims of the holocaust is located in the archaeological center of Athens overlooking the ancient burial ground of Keramikos.

The central site in Athens is transformed into a compass by abstracting the star of David, its points broken off, to show the orientation of the places throughout Greece from which Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps.

Simple geometric and metaphorical language is used to refer to the Jewish people and communities destroyed during World War II, while also linking the environs and particularly the ancient burial site at Keramikos in a meaningful dialogue with the memorial.

The sculpture is composed of 7 pieces of solid marble. The central hexagon is surrounded by triangular pieces that are carved on the inner facade with the names of cities and towns from which victims of the Nazis were deported – places that prior to WWII had thriving Jewish communities.

The triangular pieces become the points on a compass and the listing of cities and towns on the inner facades clearly refers to tombstones, and the burial site of Keramikos.

Planted around the monument is a herbal garden as a metaphor for place, healing and memory. Herbs from around Greece are planted in accordance to the orientation of the star.

People can walk through and around the monument as in a garden. The orientation of the star of David and the smell from the herbs all act together as a catalyst of memory and a tribute to the dead and lost homelands.

0.4 PERCENT STARS ETC. – “Εστία” VESTA

2010

Based on theories of the universe’s nature, several renowned contemporary cosmologists have broken down the content of all that exists in the universe, in a pie chart of percentages. The percentages are as follows:

73 dark energy, 23 dark matter, 3.6 intergalactic gas, 0.4 stars etc.

This series of works take their title from this pie chart: 0.4 Percent Stars etc. This percentage refers to all matter that is said to exist in the universe. The works have at their center both absurdity and the sublime, as expressions of the mind trying to come to terms with ideas of the infinite, and of nothingness. There is a sense of humor and an ominousness expressed in the works, that leads us into the unsettling territory of thinking on existence.

Vesta – one of the largest asteroids in the Solar System.

The construction, 0.4 Percent Stars etc. consists of a house made of the same matter as the asteroid Vesta. Vesta is one of the largest asteroids in the Solar System. It was discovered in 1807,and is named after Vesta, the virgin goddess of home and hearth from Roman Mythology, in Greek Εστία – Hestia.

The stone house as it appears in Teverina, Italy

The construction is a miniature stone house structure measuring 180×150×110 cm. Its architecture has been simplified and all the elements that are not made of stone have been removed. The viewer can look in through two open windows on the facade of the building. In the interior of the structure is a moving image (projected video) of actual footage of the asteroid Vesta. The colour of the stone in the construction and the video appear the same to emphasize the sameness of the material. The construction is raised from the ground about 30 cm. with a white light source emanating from below.

The house under construction – to be clad in stone.

Inside REX | You live with someone called by your name

2008

The main idea behind the works, “Inside Rex” and “You live with someone called by your name”, is to use the National Theatre (Rex) building as a setting that refers to the larger stage of life on which we live and play-out our role as ourselves.

“Inside Rex” installation view at Rex National Theater, Athens 2008

The “Inside Rex” neon piece has taken its form from the design of the famous logo on the exterior of the art deco building of the National Theatre in central Athens.

The sign has been copied and placed facing into the theatre – behind the same facade on which the original is hung, so that the letters are backwards – giving the audience the impression that they are behind the sign.

The work, “Inside Rex” emphasizes the fact that the audience finds itself inside the theatre – behind the façade of the building in the same way that the actor is behind the façade of the stage.

“You live with someone called by your name” installation view at Rex National Theater, Athens 2008

The work, “You live with someone called by your name” (Ζείς με κάποιν που έχει το ονομά σου) is about the situation we face within ourselves in life where we play-out roles of our character. The sentence – in neon – stresses the duality within the self, as one stands apart from the image in the mirror.

“You live with someone called by your name” installation view at Rex National Theater, Athens 2008

Rex National Theater, Athens 2008

Something about conscience

2007

Something about conscience, installation view 2007, “In present tense” curated by Dafni Vitali, Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) Athens

The sphere entitled, “Something about conscience (passage)”, has two eye-like holes for the viewer to peer through. Within, there is a white concave interior with a round window through which you can see a moving image, which shows a man in space- a montage taken from the film Solaris directed by Andrei Tarkofsky.

The video clip shows the passage to the Solaris space station on the astronaut’s outward mission in pursuit of objective scientific truth. The journey, however becomes an inward one wherein the protagonist’s conscience entraps him.

The footage from the film has been edited whereby the crux of the protagonist’s passage to the space station is looped in order to create the effect of an unending journey inward.

The second sphere,“Something about conscience (island)” has a round window 15× 15cm, Through which the viewer can look into its concave interior. It is brightly lit from an internal light source. There is a small sculpture on the inside representing an island.

“Something to do with conscience (island)”, has to do with not being able to return to a beloved landscape, but at the same time, being unable to escape the memory of it. The sculpture is about nostalgia for a place that no longer exists and alludes to a collective responsibility for its demise. It comments on the exploitation of the natural environment whose absence then becomes the subject of longing. This work, “something about conscience (island)” functions as a monument to a perfect pine forest island, which only exists in memory.

An island in the peloponnese after the fires of 1980-2007

View from bed

2006

In his book, The view from nowhere, Thomas Nagel discusses the possibilities of combining an objective and subjective view of the world with the person and his viewpoint included, “It is a problem that faces every creature with the impulse and the capacity to transcend its particular point of view and to conceive of the world as a whole.”*

“View from bed” installation view at Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, 2007

The work, “View from bed”, is a scale model of the artist’s bedroom at her studio where the volume that the bed occupies has been removed, the room is upside down and the access point of the viewer is from the perspective of the missing bed.

“View from bed” (interior view), 2006 mixed media construction 110 × 100 × 100 cm

“View from bed” (interior view)

“View from bed” (interior view)

DeAnna Maganias has said of the piece: “Its rather like turning a subjective experience on its head, so that the subject (me, i.e. the bed) is removed and the void becomes the window for the viewer… its about turning a subjective experience into an objective one, the subject having been removed and just the point of view being left, making the audience the other half of the equation.”

*Thomas Nagel, The view from nowhere, Oxford University Press, 1986

Mopy and the ape house entrance

2006

Mopy, the gorilla at the Washington National Zoo, staring out at the entrance to the ape house across from him (video still)

The ape house entrance, 2006, mixed media construction, 80 × 100 × 60 cm

Mopy and the ape house entrance, installation video stills, 2006

In the work, “Mopy and the ape house entrance”, we see a video of a gorilla – in real time – staring out from his cage at the zoo. On the wall opposite, there is a scale model of the entrance to the ape house. By putting the audience between the animal and the entrance / exit to his domicile, the artist puts us in a position to reconsider this threshold «through the eyes» of the inhabitant, permanently within range and at odds with this «door to the infinite».

The ape house entrance, installation view at Rebecca Camhi Gallery, Athens, 2006

Getting to Saint Peter

March – May 2006

Getting to Saint Peter, 2006, still from video, 110×110 cm

Paolo Bonzano Gallery
Palazzo Taverna
Via di Monte Giordano 36, Rome

The divergence between objective reality and the subjective experience of that reality defines the main terrain in which the work of DeAnna Maganias operates. Frequent subjects in her work are the standard environments of contemporary travel – airports and airplanes – and intimate domestic spaces – the tiled or plaster surfaces of bathroom or bedroom floors, walls or ceilings. By focusing on details of such places and representing them with painstaking accuracy she reveals how the familiar can become abstract. In formal terms such abstraction maintains a dialogue with the practices of minimal art. Yet her choice of subjects and her methods of representation propose a more complex perception of objective reality. The artist’s work mediates between the objective reality and subjective experience of what is represented, to reveal the viewer (and artist’s) separation from the surrounding material world he or she inhabits. This distance serves to highlight differences between the outer, measurable material world, and the ineffable nature of inner experience, which however, by being represented is in turn made objective.

In the work Getting to Saint Peter (2006) this complex dialogue is brought full circle. Composed of two plaster white egg-shaped volumes, each sculpture contains a video-loop pregnant with meaning. In the shorter of the two videos, viewed by looking through a pair of eye-holes in a mask indented into the surface of the sculpture, we see the inner surface of the dome of the Vatican basilica, Saint Peter’s. The view is taken through the ornate grating of the oculus of the crypt, directly beneath the dome, where Pope John Paul II is buried. The deceased Pope’s resting place has become a site of mass pilgrimage, consequently the motion of the camera, while remaining trained on the oculus and Michelangelo’s dome beyond, follows the course of the pilgrims processional route past the Pope’s tomb. As the images of this brief video progress, we see the rational form of the Renaissance dome dissolved and rebuilt in an endless cycle of construction and deconstruction. The second video records the real-time ascent and descent of the internal circular staircase, built within the structure of the Renaissance dome, conceived as a symbol of the universal reason underpinning the doctrine of the Roman Church. From the discomfort of the kneeling position required to watch this video, we follow the camera’s progress up stairs, through narrow, dimly-lit corridors and along expanses of tiled wall and floor surfaces. Respite from these claustrophobic internal spaces occasionally occurs as light from windows in the dome floods into our field of vision, however we never exit the dome before we begin our descent.

Biography

DeAnna Maganias lives and works between Athens, Greece, Teverina di Cortona, Italy and until 2007 New York City. She studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and the Cooper Union, New York. She has had solo exhibitions at the Rebecca Camhi Gallery, Athens (2001, 2007, 2010, 2016); she has shown at Art Brussels: Project Space, with Rebecca Camhi, Brussels, Belgium (2006); Paolo Bonzano Gallery, Rome (2006); Art Forum Berlin: Project Space with Paolo Bonzano Gallery, Berlin, Germany (2006); Thomas Erben Gallery, New York (2007). Since 1997 she has exhibited in numerous group shows, notably at the DESTE Foundation, Athens (1999); Galerie Wohnmaschine, Berlin (2000); 8th International Istanbul Biennale, Istanbul, Turkey (2003); ARCO, Madrid, Spain (2004); European Space-Sculpture Quadrennial Riga 2004, Latvia (2004); Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma (MACRO), Rome, Italy (2004); 2nd International Video Biennial, Tel Aviv, Israel (2004); Prague Biennial 2, Czech Republic (2005); State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, Greece (2006); Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, Athens Greece (2007); National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece (2007, 2009); Foundation for the Arts in Contemporary Europe (FACE) – Investigations of a Dog touring exhibition (2009-2011), Thessaloniki Biennial, Thessaloniki, Greece (2013). Among many others, the work of DeAnna Maganias is in the collections of the DESTE Foundation, Athens, Greece; the Daskalopoulos collection, Athens, Greece and the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma (MACRO), Rome, Italy. In 2010 DeAnna Maganias designed the Greek National Holocaust Memorial dedicated to the Greek-Jewish victims of the Holocaust, located at Keramikos in the archaeological center of Athens. DeAnna Maganias is represented by the Rebecca Camhi Gallery, Athens, Greece.

Visit DeAnna Maganias’ web site here: Link Text