Konstantinos Ladianos and the Space Between Two Pink Walls


Text by Kiriakos Spirou

The minute muscle movements of a hand making tiny brushstrokes, or the even lighter movements of a hand embroidering silk — ribbons gathered with stitches to create waves of ivory stripes, some stained and others not so — “nobody makes these anymore” Konstantinos Ladianos tells me as we stand in front of his small embroidery works trimmed with vintage ribbons in baby blue, rose and white — how desolate one must feel when seeking something that nobody makes anymore — I always had a particular taste for these shiny embroidery threads — my mother used to have an embroidery kit at home and I loved the bright colours — we still have a large embroidered landscape with a mountain, a river and a hut hanging in our living room — if you must be man enough to put up fights and force what you want into your possession, you must be woman enough to be able to find room to breathe when squeezed between two walls — I guess that’s what a boudoir is, isn’t it — the breathing space between two walls — only painted pink so that you don’t forget that you are feminine — even the colour pink is making fun of femininity in a way — because we can never be pink enough, women enough — boudoirs have mirrors, but Ladianos decided to make them black — such a delicate portrait — and the flowing hair, full of life, so enviable — is it hair or thread, I can’t tell — is the body made of thread after all — he doesn’t fill in the details, only as much as necessary — a feat of technique and tacit sensibility that only a hand acquainted with the topography of creases and wrinkles can achieve — tiny achievements are the most difficult after all, mostly because usually nobody notices them — Ladianos says he doesn’t fill in the details, because the body becomes a monument that way — an embroidered monument, another hidden feat — but the silence, the solitude rather, gives space — I tell Christina how beautiful this exhibition is and I realise the banality of that statement — there is nothing banal in these works, the vintage ribbons, a fifty-year-old man’s obsession with thread and needle and tender male buttocks — there’s space in these works, perhaps because you can almost hear the sound they make — almost is the keyword here — an almostness that is as generous as a summer dawn that finds you naked on a south-facing beach — clean, timid, soft, softer, softest — I follow the ribbons as they engulf, they frame, they embrace — I follow the memories as they are being remembered — no talking here, just the cheeky shine of aluminum foil concealing divine mysteries — is it love, will it become love — the pink room expands, the floor is still here — an eye in the middle of a golden spiral is not looking at me — how is it even possible to depict an eye that is looking at itself — looking inside, looking deeper — is pink the colour of depth then — my personal eye turns inside like an orb — look down to your feet and you see the nine circles of hell opening up like a diamond mine — deeper, deeper, deepest — there are no diamonds inside us, and I’m guessing Ladianos knows — but what we’re left with is the rosy belt of Venus flooding the horizon — the sun is almost up — what we’re left with is this in-between — the space between two pink walls — I would say two worlds but we’re already beyond dualities aren’t we.

The solo exhibition Pink Boudoir with paintings and embroidered works by Konstantinos Ladianos continues at CAN Christina Androulidaki Gallery (42 Anagnostopoulou St, 10673, Athens, tel. +30 210 3390833) through 24 March 2018. Christina Androulidaki Gallery is listed in the und. Athens directory at number 79.