Maria Christoforatou: Dislocated

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The Gallery @ Idea Store Whitechapel invites you to Maria Christoforatou’s first solo show in London.
Open to public 16 May – 15 June 2014

Dislocated consists of a series of work in collage on paper (2012-2014). Her work examines the emotional effects of displacement in relation to notions of ‘home’ as a place of refuge and departure, and the ways in which the art practice can expose forced displacement, and produce feelings of fear, pain and loss. Christoforatou’s family experienced the loss of a home through two house fires. She states: “In both instances, I was overcome by feelings of helplessness, disorientation, a pining for my lost belongings, and a deep sadness. The sense of loss of routine and structure was also devastating. These were my first encounters with physical and psychological displacement and came to shape my subsequent experiences of dislocation as I moved from Greece to the UK.”

A process of destroying and recreating remnants, fragments and debris time and again is at the core of Christoforatou’s practice. She manipulates motifs relating to the physical construction of the house in order to explore the concept of home as fragile and impermanent. By focusing on the physicality, her work reveals a strong impact that the home can have on the orientation of ‘body/self’, and this may be destroyed when ‘home’ is no longer welcoming or reachable. According to Amelia Jones, ‘body/self’ is about the ‘relation to the self, the world, the other: all are constituted through a reversibility of seeing and being seen, perceiving and being perceived and these entail reciprocity and contingency for the subject(s) The body/self is simultaneously both subject and object’. In this way, Christoforatou’s practice is more focused on the relationship between the structure of a dwelling and the body that occupies it, and how this influences one’s subjectivity.

Her photographs and found images are photocopied in black and white to degrade the quality of the image, and used to enhance a sense of erasure and absence. The process of photocopying photographs twice removes the final image from the original object, accentuating the absence for the viewer. Christoforatou often uses images of Victorian and Tudor houses as she is drawn not only to their shapes, but the fact that they hold memories and histories now lost. She also exploits images of machineries used in construction work. These materials are used because they are instantly recognisable as mediums that capture time and harbour memories. The viewer’s ability to distinguish between the real and the imagined are manipulated through constructed images. Her collages focus on denying the visitor a sense of security that one often seeks from a home. As images of unattainable reconstruction, the collages enable Christoforatou to represent her own sense of dislocation, and the understanding that reconstruction can never bring back what is lost. In this sense, collage is the most appropriate method to re-make displacement in her practice, since this delicate process lets her feel the vulnerability of home, and the flexibility to create multiple forms.

For further information and images please contact Rugina Mukid,

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    Maria Christoforatou

    Completed PhD

    Narratives of Home and Displacement in Contemporary Art Practice

    This practice-based research examines the emotional effects of displacement in relation to notions of ‘home’ as a place of refuge and departure, and the ways in which art practice can expose the effects of forced displacement, making observable such feelings as fear, pain and loss. In this respect, within this essay, the ‘body self’ is identified with the house as home, and certain ‘objects’ are identified, across cultures, as evocative of home and, conversely, of diaspora or flight.
    Find out more about Maria Christoforatou