CULTURE

Cutout figures and motifs create a sculptural ensemble

Ever since artist Konstantin Kakanias invented his fictional heroine, the grande dame Mrs Tependris, much of his work has focused on scenes from her life – her neuroses, flings and latest escapades. Through his wonderful skill in drawing, Kakanias has unfolded chapters from his muse’s life in which she is always featured in profile with her typical, protruding long nose, extravagant coiffure and astonished yet self-involved glance. Although a superficial character, Mrs Tependris is constantly reinventing herself, setting herself new challenges and creating grand roles. This is what keeps this body of work so fresh and attractive even though Kakanias is narrowing his talent to a very specific project and, in a way, repeating himself. Yet the demand for more stories about Mrs Tependris is strong, forcing Kakanias not to give up, despite his recurring plans to do so. The latest commission came from the Museum of Cycladic Art as part of the museum’s 20th anniversary celebration projects. This time, Kakanias has offered Mrs Tependris’s following something entirely new. «Time goes by… so slowly… (after Madonna)» is the artist’s most conceptual take to date on his muse. It is an elegant, imaginative installation of hanging, cutout drawings that has given a completely new spatial quality to the museum’s cafe-restaurant patio, where it is positioned. Kakanias – who likes to call his installation a «moving sculpture» – has drawn various, mostly abstract motifs (the head and figure of Mrs Tependris in various sizes and Cycladic idols predominate) and placed them one after the other along diaphanous strings which come down from the patio’s ceilings. Evocative of 1960s psychedelia (Mrs Tependris wears the decade’s haute couture), the installation has this «hippie-chic» aesthetic that is currently trendy. But it also plays with space and the natural lighting in a way that resembles a vitreaux-like effect and creates a soothing, ethereal quality. Unlike other Mrs Tependris-related projects, the installation does not tell a story. The underlying notion is of a voyage in time and across different civilizations with Mrs Tependris imagining herself as a real person who lived in the period of the ancient Cycladic civilization. Meant as a fragment from antiquity or like an abstract motif taken from a modernist painting, the figure of Mrs Tependris also becomes an idea, an immortal character that transcends the here and now. The installation uncovers Mrs Tependris in her fullest megalomania yet at the same time it also presents her as one more abstract motif in an overall, sculptural composition. Imaginative and beautiful, the installation of Kakanias has given even more charm to this small and pleasant meeting place that lies at the heart of the Museum of Cycladic Art. «Time goes by… so slowly… (after Madonna),» runs to April 22 at the Museum of Cycladic Art (4 Neofytou Douka, 210.722.8321). Mugs, dessert plates and place mats with Mrs Tependris-related drawings by the artist are available. There is also a scarf produced by designer Diane von Furstenberg and based on a Kakanias design. Also available are limited-edition slippers produced by French designer Christian Louboutin and hand-painted by Kakanias. Mascot unveiled for museum’s 20th anniversary For the museum’s 20th anniversary, the Cycladic Museum will introduce its mascot – a reproduction of the Cycladic «cup-bearer» idol, one of the museum’s rarest holdings. To mark the mascot’s presentation to the public, the museum has organized a series of events for children, starting March 11. Educational programs, stage and theater events – as well as an exhibition on children’s drawings of the «cup-bearer» – are scheduled during the four-day festivities. Objects designed by M art Manolioudakis (Evgenia Manolioudaki-Boyiatzara is the designer) will be available at the museum shop.