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About the artist
About the exhibition
"Lemon Grove – Diaries of a summer" is a series of 67 new works, still lifes, at the CITRONNE Gallery. The title alludes directly to the eponymous grove of Galatas on the Peloponnesian coast, although it is considered to be part of the island of Poros and was immortalised in the Kosmas Politis novel of the same title.
In this series of works Jannis Psychopedis revisits "Still Life", which is by definition about things cut off from the flow of life and turned into symbols as parts of natural life. The contradiction between the two words, still and life, or life and death, give a first taste of the artist's dialectic reading of history.
All the works unfold before a black backdrop. A key, shared element of the visual staging is lemons. A fruit associated with Mediterranean abundance, natural and cultural, the lemon forms part of people's daily lives — as an edible good, as medicinal aid, as symbol of Orthodox sacraments, and even as a female name.
As a "still life", lemons here coexist with seemingly disparate objects: fragments of statues, postcards, measuring tools and implements of manual labour. Through this staging process the artist conveys traces of memories, images, mental pictures. These are layers of time which mix up different periods, at the same time cultivating the idea of a "written monument", a testimony. The realistic rendering and the visual technique of a pseudo-collage intensify this impression.
Jannis Psychopedis develops an entire system of symbols. The works in this series form part of a modular work; they are works-pages from a visual diary. The gold-coloured fruits are accompanied by elements of daily life: bread, "our daily bread", the fundamental symbol of sustenance, historically elevated into a social demand; utilitarian objects, symbols of toil; flowers and fruit, a classic allusion to youth and fertility. Next to these testimonies of living, Psychopedis draws the viewer's attention to a resounding memento mori through traces of the past and of intrinsic history: shattered ancient statues; worn wood from shipwrecks; old photos with frozen faces; postcards with immobilised images of the sea.
Starting from a place which forms part of the identity of Poros, the Lemon Grove, Jannis Psychopedis opens up to Mediterranean civilisation, to the natural environment, to the sea. Starting from the imprint of personal recollections, he expands into the broader and inevitable collective memory.