"[...] the ceiling fan stirred, without freshening it, the vitiated air,
sending back upon them [...] their own stale breath and odors [...]"
William Faulkner, “Dry September”, 1931
Vitiated air as a metaphor for a stagnant society, narrow-minded, clinging to its established convictions and unwilling to allow in anything new. It may be fiction, but at the same time quite real, up until now.
Could it be that the mobility of ideas —thus of the people— is at least one of the steps towards the solution of this fundamental problem? Regarding cultural professionals, what are the reasons for them to commute and the profits in relation to the production process and the creative output? The need for knowledge, the possibility of an “international” career, an access to foreign markets, new collaborations and a wider audience are certainly not the sole motives for artists to reach beyond their local environment.
The benefits that one may gain simply by associating with various societies are evident first and foremost in one's personality. The mobility of people promotes an understanding of human nature, of the great diversity of human beings and of our own personalities. It liberates us from social norms and smoothes out the ways we interact with each other. When it comes to artists, it is inevitable that these changes manifest themselves in their work as well.
In a time when artistic production has significantly increased, the uniqueness of a work of art is essential. An honest manifestation of an artist's personality into their work, inspiration through newfound stimuli and a genuine concern about public matters in an international level, are perhaps the elements that could create the possibility for one of those artworks which make you happy when you happen to be in their presence.
The three artists participating in the exhibition carry their own personality traits, which are also reflected in their work. Nevertheless, from the very first moment of their interaction —however brief— with the Greek reality, they integrate into their research elements of the local society and history. It’s a process which is not necessarily deliberate, but rather a spontaneous reaction to new stimuli.
For Su Wang it is the light and the mediterranean landscape that completely change her subject area and the way she uses colour in her paintings. For Yelena Zhelezov it is the techniques of the ancient Greek drama, which she parallels with the methods people use to construct their fictitious self-images and project them into society. For Bjargey Ólafsdóttir it is the elements that constitute the daily life of people, which may have apparent differences, but share a common origin.