Drawing from Plato's "Theory of Forms", the artist explores the ability of the senses to convey Ideas. Whereas in Plato’s Phaedo the senses are seen as an impediment to the understanding of truth, this exhibition is a study of our capacity to perceive through the senses. Thus, sense perception becomes an instrument of knowledge, and the physical, material objects become a manifestation of abstract Ideas.
Fragoudaki, interacts with the materials seeking Forms or Ideas indirectly associated with their conventional intent or purpose. She delves into the greater concept of materiality questioning what we see, what we feel and what we are able to understand.
Through her interaction with the material she is tryingto reveal Forms that are inherent to the objects, but hidden at firstsight. “What is a stone? It is hard, but not always strong. It can be fragile; it can be brittle. As I interact with it, incorporating it in my paintings, different characteristics and emotions are revealed. Sometimes obvious, sometimes surprising.”Says Maria Fragoudaki.
Once the artist interacts with materials, she becomes aware of what they are and their properties and oftentransforms them, challenging our notion of reality. “Rope is stubborn; it has its own personality. I like to work with it, reveal its character. Rope can be curled; it can be hauled. It can stay soft, it can get tensed, hardened like steel. It is something that often needs strength to interact with and it becomes very physical to work with.” (M.F.) Therefore all interactions with materials become a full, physical, experiential process.
The works in this exhibition were inspired by artifacts from the permanent exhibition of the Jewish Museum of Greece. They express the artist’s interpretation of the tactile, material culture of two thousand years of Jewish history in Greece through stone, wood, paint, paper and textile objects.