Dimitra Chanioti

Interview: Maro Voulgari | Photo: Ioanna Fysilani

The crucial point is not to trace the stimuli
but to filter them

Dimitra Chanioti seeks the invisible side of things and uses Heraclitus classical dictum “Nature loves to hide” to urge us to discover it with art as our guide. Her exhibition at the “αντί” Art Gallery on Antiparos on July 16 to 29 will be a major visual art event at the two islands.

You have studied visual arts. Has this changed the way you see things?
Obviously, the concept of reality is different for a painter, different for a lawyer and different for a farmer or a doctor. However, our point of view is not solely determined by our profession in a narrow sense but by a series of additional factors which make up the general and specific culture of each person.
These factors can be education, family, religion, the social and politico economic environment in which one lives and works. The combination of all these things constitutes the personal point of view of each person not only as regards art but as regards all aspects of life.

What does it mean to be a visual artist and which are your sources of inspiration?
A visual artist is someone who creates a personal visual language with its own syntax and its own grammar. He is someone who chooses the visual means which will allow him to compose a personal and subjective story.
A stimulus, that is a motive for creation, can crop up at any place and occasion. The crucial point is not to trace the stimuli but to filter them, to try and judge on which you must focus your interest.

You live at Paros. Do you consider that as an artist you have been deprived of the city’s challenges?
Since the mid 20th century Paros has emerged as a significant cultural centre. Destination, home and centre of creation for a large number of Greek and foreign visual artists. I’ve studied this phenomenon in my graduation thesis, in 2012, about the visual art creators who lived on the island from 1950 to 2012. Moreover, I’ll have the honour to present my research at an International Congress at the Harokopio University, next November. In this sense, I don’t feel I have been deprived of any artistic challenges.

How strong is your wish to comment with your work on the current reality?

My work always contained elements of a cultural, social and political comment.
In general, as artists we are sensitive and receptive to developments in our environment and evidently this influences the art we produce. In my latest work you’ll see strong cultural and political symbolisms, elements reflecting the disturbed sociopolitical situation in Greece as well as political comments on the developments taking place around us.

Do you believe in talent?
In general, I believe that the innate qualities play a much less important role in an individual’s make-up than the acquired features, like cult ure, education, the social environment. I believe that hard work is the decisive factor of success in every human endeavour. Even personalities who were unquestionably geniuses like Aristotle or Leonardo Da Vinci without hard toil would not have created their unique work. Unexploited talent is certainly inefficient and unable to lead you to the route of creation.

Are we an art loving people? What about the schoolchildren, are they sensitized to art issues?
There is no mental or artistic deficit in the schoolchildren, this is quite clear. Anyway, I don’t believe in any “racial predetermination” as regards any issue or culture. As I have already mentioned, I believe in work, education and a culture of learning. Undoubtedly, the children love the visual arts. Without any restrictions and a stifling context, without the strict “must” of our educational system the children feel freer and respond with love and enthusiasm to the visual arts course.

This year you prepare a solo exhibition at the “αντί” Art Gallery at Antiparos. Which is the key idea of this latest work of yours? What title will you give to the exhibition?
The works which will complete the unity of my new solo exhibition come as a follow up and development of my works presented at the Art Athena in 2015. In my opinion, they make a topical politico-social comment. They attempt to decode, through the freedom art provides, invisible but substantial aspects of reality.
They also hint at underground, unseen aspects of things, even if this might entail a deconstruction of classical forms. “The Nature loves to hide “Heraclitus has said and asks us to discover the hidden, invisible aspect of things. This is the title I have chosen for my new exhibition. Thus, I invite the exhibition visitors to share my thoughts and travel in my universe, in the hope that art and reflection can be the path to investigating the hidden nature of the human existence.

Summer 2018