3rd Auckland Triennial, 2007 (Catalogue)

Works included in the exhibition: Promenade & Oblivion ́s Exercises

A woman -the artist- literally loses herself before a mirror. Her reflection is nowhere to be seen. The viewer can see her back as she is dressed in a silk dressing gown with embroidered flowers. This is the only spot on the picture where the gaze can ‘breathe’. I remember all of you, is the title of this work -shot by Christina Dimitriadis in 1996- that has inspired the latest body of her work. It is comprised of four different photographic sets from which any apparent trace of emotional activity seems at first sight markedly absent.

“This older picture came to me when I realized that I kept on having to remember to forget all the time“, writes the artist probably referring most to the realisation that several events in the cycle of life recur in identical form, as if they were never of the past, (and at the same time) as if they never happened. “Everyday life was incapable of containing the desirable. Imaginary life became more real than real, everyday life. Space itself became emptiness, loss, deprivation. How long can this last, when the impossible leaves no possibilities for the possible?”

In these works, Dimitriadis continues the journey of understanding ‘the self’ across the timeless everyday reality of existence. Her body as well as her whole being becomes once more the vehicle to describe the sensitively complex situation of living which seems so familiar and so nameless at the same time. The series is complemented by the Oblivion’s exercises, 2005, three color prints that show the artist in her frenzied attempt – through a paranoid dance, standing upside down on her palms with her skirt covering her torso and head – to find release and ‘answer’. Promenade, 2004 comprises three color prints,of a foggy beach. In one of the pictures a human figure – her father – can be seen walking away, while in another he is not there anymore. Obsession and paradox, together with pain and fear of the ‘predictable’, dominate these works. They seem to fill the space where they are hosted with a smell of ether, almost like in a hospital. Dimitriadis records, in a surgical manner, the load of ‘human demons’ and the ineffective effort to exorcise them. There seems to be no way of escape from this place; the only thing to be done is go back into an almost bare room and ‘deal’ with it. While she remains firmly self-referential, Dimitriadis goes to the core of the matter, without needing to provide many details. Unlike previous works her face does not appear in this series. This absence seems to create a tremendous feeling of suffocation, yet at the same time the fascination of these abstract images –of a female body, herself, completely covered under the bed sheet in her bed, Oblivion’s exercises, 2005 – is perversely gratifying, like the pleasure formed sometimes by deep pain.

Marina Fokidis