Rania Bellou
Born in 1982 in Thessaloniki (Greece).
Lives in London (Great Britain) and Athens (Greece).
Immortal Love or Ode to the Past, 2016
Book, 30 х 80, video, 6:32 min.
Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries, Аthens
The Greek artist Rania Bellou devotes her works to ability of the artefacts of the past to tell the story, in which everybody could recognize themselves. In this artwork such an opportunity was granted by a leather-bound diary with a hand-made image of the Acropolis on the cover which was found on the flea market and was owned by an unknown man. From 30 June 1950 to 16 February 1952 the owner wrote down his love poetry and revealed his feelings to the woman whom he had loved since childhood. He had lost her during the Greco-Turkish War and met again 35 years later. After she had found this diary the artist decided to reconstruct the universe of its protagonists and the events of their lives in the album with pencil drawings on tissue paper and colored inserts of subdued shades. Drawing is always a sketch of something in making, but it's also the fragility of something already existing and in this regard it perfectly complies with love story, which is naturally inseparable with anticipation of loss. These drawings transfer the spectator from one age to another and different time layers here coexist despite the calendar flow of time. In the same way, the memories of heroes alternate with the artist's memories and in their turn are open to the spectator's memory. In this process one can hear the echo of Marcel Proust's works, that are loved by the artist. Analyzing his most famous novel "In Search of Lost Time" the Soviet philosopher Merab Mamardashvili paid attention to Proust's idea that every reader can find in the novel something to their liking and thus every described notion has sense only to the extent of our own emotional experience. In Rania Bellou's work memories of the anonymous owner of the diary as well as memories in Proust's novel are concerned with the feeling of joy, which Mamardashvili calls a sign of the truth: "... the truth appears when the truly experienced life is somehow floating up inside you, refined and clear. It is yours".
artistic director of the project: Viktor Misiano
National Center for Contemporary Arts
Moscow Museum of Modern Art
Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center
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