The thread has been lost; the labyrinth has been lost also. Now, we no longer even know whether these corridors that encircle us are those of a labyrinth, a secret cosmos, or a chaos of pure chance. Our beautiful duty is to imagine that there exists a labyrinth and a thread. We might never come across the thread; or we might stumble upon it unexpectedly and then lose it again in an act of faith, in the rhythm of a line, in a dream, in the sort of words that are called philosophy or in a moment of mere and simple happiness.
Jorge Louis Borges
In Panagiota Andriakaina’s work the thread of the narrative is the main material: colorful threads penetrate the surface of the painting, tangle, curl up and stretch as they follow different directions. Some figures are crafted with precision, while others are outlined with fast stitches on a nearly empty background, adding materiality and rhythm to the composition.
The time incorporated in the work of Andriakaina is twofold: On the one hand it is the time of the artwork, defined by the repetitive paths of the thread and the laborious process of creation. On the other hand it is the time of history, stretching from now to the distant past of art history, which is the focus of a narrative that revisits classic works by great artists such as Manet or Velázquez.
But the narration follows its own terms, giving the lead to what had previously been considered secondary: The protagonists of the classic works now recede into the background, letting the secondary figures come to the fore, to transform into animal figures as if they were new Minotaurs in becoming, to look at the viewer through their expressive eyes. The technique of the artist also favours practices that had been traditionally considered of lesser value; Andriakaina confronts male artists who have been assigned the role of “artistic genius” with her needle and thread, that is, materials thought to belong to the realm of female creation. Thus she openly challenges the division between the crafts, which were considered domestic “female” tasks, and Fine Arts, which supposed an action in the public “male” space.
Thus, the work unfolds in a continuous field where art coexists with craft, and thoughts unfold slowly, with “PATIENCE” -a word weaved in capital letters (YΠΟΜΟΝΗ). In other words, Andriakaina articulates a discourse about art through art, in careful syllables, through the stitches and the movement of the yarn. Gripping one of the unruly ends of the thread that extend from the space of the painting to the space of the viewer, we can enter the labyrinth of the artwork, which transfers us from the familiar and the everyday to a strange and wondrous land.
Christina Grammatikopoulou, PhD
Art History and Art Theory