Episodes in matter
The work is displayed as part of the permanent exhibition
93 x 95 cm
Donated by the artist, 2014
Inv. No. 1008/14
“Geographies”, “episodes” or “images in matter” are some of the terms with which Rena Papaspyrou describes the essence of her practice from the late 1960s to date, which could be defined as an aesthetic evaluation of random occurrences on the surface of materials. In this context, the artist collects sheet metal, doors, planks, wall fragments, tiles, dirt, and other urban detritus from the streets of Athens, classifies them, and makes minimal alterations with a pencil or marker. These interventions are meant to direct the gaze to the mental change of scale necessary to discover the images inscribed by chance on the surface of this material. In the works derived from this process, such as Episodes in matter, 1980 and Stilponos 7, 1979, the viewer follows the artist’s gaze into a dreamlike visual microcosm full of unexpected narratives inscribed by accidental wear, the elements of nature or just the passage of time.
Stilponos 7, from the Episodes in Matter series, comprises 4 wall fragments from a dilapidated Athenian house together with photos from the process of removing the material from its original location. This work was completed with a fifth wall section which was removed in the presence of an invited audience and moved from Stilponos St to the Desmos Art Gallery, proposing the urban environment as a space of experimentation but also as the physical and conceptual origin of her work. Images in matter has been a work-in-progress since 1981 and includes wall-mounted works, installations, and videos whose common feature is the recognisable images imprinted on such diverse everyday materials as mosaic tiles, wood grain, erosion marks or faded colours on removed wall plaster. Again with a few pencil lines, Rena Papaspyrou fills in what the eye needs to recognise an image that is already there. With similar ways and aims, Papaspyrou digitally processes the image of the same mosaic floor tile for the video installation Real Time, 1996.The work, as indicated by its title, captures the process of identifying and designing images on the randomly placed mosaic tiles in real time.
Stamatis Schizakis, text from the permanent exhibition guide ENTER EMST : Collection & History, A short guide, 2020