When: Friday 15th March, 2019
Where: Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation
Since the most ancient times people feel the need to cover their vulnerability with something that symbolically empowers and protects. The script in many traditional societies and cultures is considered to have magical abilities and the written word to provide a mystical protection. In my works The Sheltering Word, the poetic vocabulary replaces the magic formulas, reviewing the existing perception and considering anew the healing properties of art in modern society.
Born in Athens, Irini Gonou graduated from the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts and from the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs of Paris, where she lived for eleven years and Greek Palaiography at the Palaiographical Archive of the National Bank of Greece in Athens.
She has shown her art work in thirty solo exhibitions in Greece, Cyprus, France, Germany, UK, Belgium, USA, Norway and Egypt.
Since 1995 her visual explorations move towards the Cultures of the wide Mediterranean cultural area. In her recent solo exhibitions she is interested to the subject of the healing and protective power of the written word. In her works, challenging the perception, the poetic language replaces the magic formulas considering anew the healing properties of art in modern societies.
Her solo exhibition Al-Khatt, the magic script in 2008 was a visual dialog with the exhibits of the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art in Athens.
The same exhibition has been shown in the same year at Alatza Imaret in Thessaloniki, Greece https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXHDga4u-mc
2012: A Tale of Two Cultures, Lahd Gallery, Hampstead, London, UK http://lahdgallery.com/irini-gonou-a-tale-of-two-cultures/
2013: Τhe Sheltering Word, Heyman Center for Humanities, Columbia University, NY, USA http://heymancenter.org/events/art-exhibition-the-sheltering-word/
2013: Talismans, Martinos Art Gallery, Athens
2014: Magic scripts-Apotropaic texts, Center for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Chr.Michelsen Institute, Bergen, Norway
2014-2015: Whispering Reeds in Woven Garden, Imaret and Mohamed Ali Museum, Kavala, Greece https://issuu.com/irinigonou/docs/whispering_reeds2
2015: Participation with Nitra Gallery at the ArtInternational Istambul 2015
2016: lest we forget how fragile we are, Nitra Gallery, Thessaloniki, Greece
2017: The Blue Procession, mapping a metaphorical journey, Kaloritsa, Bazaios Tower, Naxos, Greece https://www.khtt.net/en/page/28096/the-blue-procession
2018: De Materia Magica, Evripides Art gallery, Athens
Her artwork is included to the collections of the French Ministry of Culture, Benaki Museum of Islamic Art in Athens, Ministry of Culture in Egypt, HCH at Columbia University in NY, at Columbia Institute for Ideas &Imagination, in Paris, Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Historical Archive of the National Bank of Greece, the Research Center Mohamed Ali, to the Musée Ernest Renan in France, Museum of Contemporary Art in Florina, also to Municipal Galleries, private Museums and Foundations, and to a variety of important private collections.
She lives and works in Athens and teaches regular workshops on the Mediterranean Scripts at the Benaki Museum and at the Ornerakis Applied Arts Centre and on Arabic calligraphy at the Egyptian Cultural Centre of Athens.