The Mediterranean basin has always been an area where major routes of migration converge. Today, the largest patterns of migration in this area are bound north- and west-bound from Asia and Africa towards the southern coast of Europe. These journeys consist primarily of clandestine crossings, where the notion of “invisibility” operates both as a physical requisite and a political conditioning. Artist Maria Papadimitriou explores the theme of undocumented travellers and refugees compelled to these forms of obscurity and concealment […].
Working within this framework of anonymity Papadimitriou bypasses all external physical traits and works solely with the representation of the travellers’ internal makeup, mainly the non-corporeal substance inherent in all mankind. The Murano glass vases, shining, transparent, and solid embody the seat of the travellers’ intellectual and emotional power. The inimitability of each piece in its varying shapes corresponds to a single entity transformed and altered by personal stories, thus invaluable, as it is irreplaceable. Broken shards mark the brittleness of this material presenting Papadimitriou’s sea as a solid patchwork of lost histories […].
In contrast to the brittle Murano pieces stands the unyielding strength of the metallic boat; its austere aluminium outline and solid form represent the threat of force located in the networks of power governing life. This is the Apparatus, the body of relations responsible for the inclusion and the exclusion of life from the governance of law.1 In her work Papadimitriou depicts life as excluded from the Apparatus, for the undocumented traveller like the refugee adheres to the definition of non-citizens, conditioned to anonymity in view of their status of statelessness.2 It is for this exclusion from governance and law that these bodies represent today’s equivalent of an outlaw – a subject whose right to life was negated, banned, and destined to die. In stripping her subjects to bare the very essence of their being, Papadimitriou reveals a shared feature by all humanity, a quality that makes them equal, and renders the possibility of that equality imaginable […].
Maria Halkias, art historian, Athens
(excerpt from Of Dreams and Reality – a crossroads of Fate: an Installation by Maria Papadimitriou).
1The title of “Apparatus” has been borrowed from Giorgio Agamben’s work “ What is an Apparatus”? Stanford University Press: 2009
2“We are Refugees”, Symposium. 1995, No. 49(2), Summer, 114-119.
b. 1957, Athens, Greece
Lives and works in Athens and Volos. She studied Fine Arts at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris. Since 2000 she teaches at the Department of Architecture at the University of Thessaly, and she is the founder of the non profit association T.A.M.A. (Temporary Autonomous Museum for All) in Greece. She has taken part in important solo and group exhibitions in Greece and abroad: [mac] Musée d’ Art Contemporain, Marseille (2012) • SESC Pinheiors, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2012) • Royal Academy of Arts, London (2011) • Schloss Trautenfels, Austria (2010) • Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki (2007) • Pavillion of Contemporary Art, Milan (2006) • Olivetti Foundation, Rome (2004) • Espacio Uno – Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid (2004) • Manifesta 4, Frankfurt (2002) • Atheneum Museum of Architecture and Design in Chicago (2001). She also participated in various biennials: the Bienal de Arquitectura Arte Paisaje de Canarias; the Sao Paulo and Lyon Biennials; The Haifa Mediterranean Biennial, among others. She won the Deste Foundation Prize in 2003.