Text by William Summerfield
Home is a slippery concept, and one that has a different meaning to everyone; for some it’s a place, for others a person – or maybe simply a feeling. The events of the last year have created a further rupture in our appreciation of its meaning, as our priorities have changed and the places we live in have come to resemble at times a prison rather than a sanctuary. Only one thing is certain, a home is much more than simply where we live.
In their recent exhibition, Ileana Tounta Gallery in Athens tackles this concept, looking at the subjective responses to home in the work of artists Nina Papaconstantinou and Kostas Bassanos. Both artists avoid direct representation of space, instead combining text, abstract form and found material to create a more lyrical response to the theme.
Papaconstantinou’s home is rooted in memory, language and shared experience; a letter sent to a loved one, images taken from fairy tales and the lyrics of lullabies and songs for weddings and funerals. In works such as Letter to Husband (Sweetheart Come) (2020) she abstracts the written word, hammering holes following the form of each letter directly into the gallery wall, rendering the text no longer readable, only a trace or glimmer of a memory. Home becomes an intangible emotion, a connection between people through time.
Bassanos looks at home as a common shared space, but explores the hidden, invisible reality of the worlds we inhabit. The Dark Matter series, a set of 12 drawings of swirling abstract forms, emphasise this gap in our understanding of the world – between light and dark and the physical and the imperceptible – to question what we really know about the world around us. A large text piece Beyond Here Lies Nothing obliquely calls out the limits of our collective worldview.