Irène Laub Gallery, Brussels


Curated by Luk Lambrecht


We are pleased to welcome Athina Ioannou for her first solo exhibition at the gallery.


Greek artist Athina Ioannou (1968), currently residing in Dusseldorf, maximizes and reinterprets painting with minimal and economic means. Her sensuous ‘abstract’ painting – which she prefers to refer to as ‘plus-painting’ – arises from the ‘intensification’ of ready-made carriers (canvas, felt, commercial textiles…) through the patient all-over saturation of her work with linseed oil. In this way, she creates canvases that lose their original color, become transparent and play freely with the light as well as the mostly white color of the underlying, supporting wall. Athina Ioannou sacralizes the banal; she transforms her ready-made textiles into profound art, and brings this about through a wide variety of formal applications. Her work is space-sensitive; animated by the changing, existing light that takes hold of the color, which is then altered and made unique with every change of the light’s intensity.

This solo exhibition presents a sampling of her artistic practice. Canvasses are hung next to one another at a short distance from the wall and let the light swirl across their surfaces saturated with linseed oil – works that also immediately bring to mind recent paintings from artists such as Palermo and Günther Förg. What is nice is that one can literally look through the work; nothing is hidden or masked – the art, here, presents itself as disarmingly transparent as an intriguing X-ray photo. Small irregular elements of materials such as felt and other fabrics – fully saturated with linseed oil – are pinned to the wall. A large number of these beautiful fragments are brought together in an intuitively composed constellation that will, as such, always look different in other installations at other places in the future. The gouaches function as architectural possibilities or geo-structures in which these fragments are contained. And yes, she has recently started using her fingers as a brush. The artist lets dense, pasty or light-footed blue fingerprints float above poems placed on sheets of paper, seemingly concealing the impossibility of language to express life’s essence. Poetry is the central concept in her oeuvre; she poeticizes the essential importance of light through unfathomable, unique colors. She is a ‘modern’ painter who eschews gratuitous and pathetic expressions of grand emotions by manipulating her well-chosen subject so as to make her art into a projection of absolute sensuality. Athina Ioannou brings an exceptional form of painting, by means of a traceable method in which transparency stands for painting itself.

– Luk Lambrecht


Read more about Athina Ioannou