Chrysanthi Koumianaki

Chrysanthi Koumianaki (1985, Heraklion, Crete) is an artist based in Αthens. Her practice investigates the idea of translation and of creating symbolic systems, codings, scores and alphabets focusing on non-verbal communication. She reconsiders and manipulates the rules and methods of a global visual language, creating new narratives which reflect upon different times. Her works suggest dialogues and communication systems. Therefore, she often collaborates with other professionals, such as dancers, actors, architects, and musicians, who have an active role in each of her pieces. Her main body of work consists of installations combining different media such as sculptures, drawings, prints, video, sound, and performance. Her work has been exhibited internationally, in solo and group exhibitions in institutions, museums and galleries. Since 2012, along with Kosmas Nikolaou and Paky Vlassopoulou, she has been one of the co-founders of the 3 137 artist-run space in Αthens.

Down with the abstract. Long live the ephemeral!
Drawings, 2016–2022

Chrysanthi Koumianaki's work Down with the abstract. Long live the ephemeral! is part of a series of works, which borrows its title from a slogan found on the streets of Paris in May 1968. The slogans that you see here were found on the streets of Athens in the last few months, as well as in Riga (in collaboration with the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art). The work introduces a new graphic code, a new alphabet and a new font, which needs to be deciphered to be understood. Here, the letters of the alphabet are replaced with plans for ideal cities designed by Renaissance architects (including Filarete, Fra Giocondo, Girolamo Maggi and Giorgio Vasari) in the 15th–16th centuries, when utopianism and the quest to discover alternative ways of life erupted from the intense cultural upheavals of that time. Those plans came to nothing. But although they never materialized, some of them inspired the creation of “ideal cities”, which were subsequently rejected once again. These plans for potential cities aspired to an ideal urban configuration and an ideal life.
The work investigates the relationship between three things: the ideas and meaning of public speech and writing, mass demonstrations and the concept of an ideal society. The idea of subverting the status quo, connected to the uncompromising and the imaginary. Here, language is deconstructed and represented by unmaterialized proposals, thereby suggesting a revisiting of language, in an imaginary or actual way. “Walls” constantly fill up with new slogans and are redefined over and over again, always questioning their current content.