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"The Wall", 2012

"Hidden Time", 2006

Text for the group exhibition “Local Heroes”, from the catalogue Action Field Kodra’06, Action Field Kodra, Thessaloniki, 2006 

In her particularly appealing video installation “Hidden Time”, Fotini Kariotaki questions the boundaries between a real and

an oneiric space-time through senses, sounds, sentiments and emotions.

As the barrack is laden with memories and negative feelings of special gravity, in a hyperbolic sense, such as phobias, 

oppression, fanaticism, pain, misery, despair, solitude, submissiveness, violence, cul-de-sacs, unhappiness, hatred, but also

intense solidarity, fellowship, friendship, pleasures, all this in the highest degree, man seeks the time and the moment when 

through introspection she/he instantly and almost stealthily will be brought back to the actual essence of her-/himself. 

Man imperatively seeks his/her absolutely private, mental or actual space-time, where she/he will be brought back and will 

potentially deal with needs, dreams, desires and memories. In everyday life space-time is not consciously sought after, 

yet in extreme cases, it becomes absolutely significant and unique through an inflated or minimized "Ego" depending on what

the case is and proves to be unexpectedly beneficial or destructive, as, while walking on the tight rope of his/her boundaries, 

man always becomes utterly sensitised and gains unique lucidity and clarity in terms of his/her self-awareness and personal 

and collective truth of things.

The artist offers the viewer the opportunity to invade her space-time, which is occupied by her work, examine it closely, 

build an interactive relationship with the work of art and thus play a major role in its creation and reception. The place, without

confining the viewer to the room, prepares him/her to immerse in his/her senses, in an experiment of interaction between 

him/her and the work of art, between reality and illusion, between what exists and what is imaginary, where they become 

involved interact or fuse.

Two extreme male figures-shadows appear at two different corners of this place, two different body expressions, with 

contrasted connections of characteristics yet just as passionate in their performance, they create a nightmarish feeling of 

space, be it real or imaginary, which in combination with irregular whispers and breaths and a constant hint of an unspecified 

noise in this space, they stimulate the senses of the viewer and sensitise him/her as a receiver of polysemantic stimuli. 

This intermediary communicational noise gives rise to feelings of exaggeration, distance and affection. Her theme carries us 

to an internal-imaginary world of intense emotions. In contrast to the two male figures and the emotions of space-time in which 

they are included, at the centre of this video installation there is a delicate female figure that dances her narcissistic dance and 

is visible from all angles, thus monopolizing the performance. This delicate young figure coming from the past transformed, 

transfigured into a vision of unfulfilled desires and expectations and she can share her "hidden time" with the viewer because 

it is pure and free of all burdens. Her dance unfolds in her own alluring space-time and although, according to Einstein, 

"it involves past, present and future, all of which seem to be unified", the viewer wishes to usurp it because it belongs more

to the future.

The project introduces us to a new perspective of perceiving space-time entailing in an unorthodox way different -private- systems

 of their space-time, Nonetheless, despite exclusions, private space and time cannot be regarded as being isolated from 

each other. As Minkowski proved "they all belong to one singular, global area that is a union of space and time, space-time".

While reading these works, the viewer is invited to decipher their conceptual essence and entity by partaking in her personal 

narration and willingly participating in the duration of time introduced.


Maria Kenanidou, Art Historian


" ...and it's still the same..."

From the catalogue of the group show “Athina By Art” that was held in the centre of the city of Athens during the Olympics ’04, 

refering to the installation "...and it's still the same...", 2004.  

With its title inspired by Peter Handke's poem Song for Childhood, recited in Wim Wenders' film "The Wings of Love”

Fotini Kariotaki's installation, despite its contemporary vocabulary, conveys diachronic symbolism.

The red sphere, according to the artist, is a concentration of the unknown. But this unknown can include unexplored

facets of the past, aspects of the future, or signs of the present. It embodies hope but also danger, joy as well as fear.

Its extension is a corona that shadows our past and illuminates our future and/or shadows our future and illuminates

our past. 

Site-specific to Monastiraki Square, the city's historic centre, the installation underlined this relationship between past,

present and future. For this reason Kariotaki chose a multi-sensory language that by its use of natural and artificial light

sets up a communication that permeates every visual language and code, and therefore eliminates the distance 

that separates the viewer in a classic frontal relationship with an artwork. 

The viewer, literally bathed in colour, becomes a part of the space defined by the work, without for all intents and 

purposes having to develop observation, as defined by scholars. The visible sensory elements are those that determine 

every process of exercise or training of the eye. 

One could say that Kariotaki trains visual perception and cultivates a new pedagogy based on the discovery of fields

located on the boundaries of perception and recording.

Dorothea Konteletzidou

Art Theorist


" Thing-In-Itself", 2002

Text from the catalogue of the solo exhibition titled “Known-Unknown”, Lola Nikolaou Art Gallery, Thessaloniki 2004

Our relationship with the innocent appearance of things

In formulating a personal approach and a – still evolving – penetrative system of thought and creativity, involving 

the special codes of perception and communication, Fotini Kariotaki has made a systematic study of the philosophical

 positions of Hegel, Kant and Kostas Axelos, theories which explore the concepts of the phenomena of perception, 

antinomy, duality, relativity and the appearance or revelation of the world. She herself is aware that the new techniques

 of image digitalisation and the technology of surveillance are generating a complex and dangerous hybrid relationship, 

one based on such inescapable concepts as simulation, virtual reality, globalisation, numeralisation, alteration of virtual 

space-time in opposition to real time – all reinforcing the relations of interaction and the intervention of the random and 

the ephemeral. From the period of her installations exploring the relativity of things

(It's true, it's a lie, 1998) up until her recent installation Thing-In-Itself (2002), Kariotaki has been creating severe, 

minimalist and interactive installations (two or three dimensional, wall-installed, floor-based) which invite the spectator 

to perceive, conceive and at the same time ‘de-materialize’ perceptual phenomena – emphasising the ideas of relativity, 

of flux, of ‘accurate’ truth and given reality. The work Thing-Ιn-Ιtself  was created during the artists residency at the 

International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York(2002), with the support of the Thessaloniki Contemporary Art Centre.

According to Maurice Merleau-Ponty, painting, and art in general, are not only ways of seeing the world but also ways 

of orienting, or disorienting, ourselves within that world. ‘We never cease to live in the world of perception beyond verified truth

 or falsehood, but our critical thought allows us to transcend this fact, to such an extent in fact that we forget how great 

its contribution is to the forming of our idea of the truth’.

The installation Thing-In-Itself (2002) consists of nine ‘episodes – sense situations’, representing the perception 

and personal interpretation of basic categories involved in human existence, and particularly the question of vision, 

the primary mode of relation between man and physical reality, the world and being (thought, body, nature, water, 

money, threat, communication, technology, death). These units are not presented in a specific sequence, but as open 

and autonomous totalities, the relationship between them ambiguous, inviting and provoking the sensory reaction and 

critical interpretation of the audience-spectator, guiding his perceptual behaviour on multiple reductive levels. 

This reduction ‘does not situate us beyond the world, but “here within” the world, binding us within it as embodied subjects. 

The woof and weave in which our minds embroider the discontinuous patterns of our actions are only the laborious 

and artificial constructions of our own spirit. Nothing gives us the right to confirm their duration’. At the same time these 

conceptual articulations of perception or lived conception (as form or as concept) offered by each new interpretative look, 

strengthen the idea of reversibility (at the same time reinforcing the concept of multiplicity) and of the creative disequilibrium

 within the dualist system of subject and object. The tensions and oppositions, the conflict and the passage in suspension 

from one state to the other (from chaos to the fully-formed image) activate the opening up of new prospects for perception. 

In her attempt to eliminate the personal element in the visual idiom, Kariotaki reveals the imaginative structure of the visible

 and – at the same time – of the unseen, the familiar which appears as unfamiliar, yet full of fascination, causing tremors 

in the perceptual patterns which are imposed on us or to which we are directed. By following his own instinct and knowledge, 

the spectator can summon up new points of orientation within the world. 

Dr. Sania Papa

Art theorist

Director of the Thessaloniki Contemporary Art Centre

Thessaloniki, November 2004

"Innocent" (detail), 2001

From the catalogue of the group show under the title “Blurring Boundaries”, Borusan Art Gallery, Istanbul 2003 

Fotini Kariotaki demonstrates remarkable versatility in handling multiple means of approaching, operating and 

interpreting human perception, ranging freely among post-modern systems of action and behavior and constructing 

interactive spaces which stimulate all the senses (three-D mural installations with sound, light, vibration, mirrors, 

Plexiglas, e.t.c.). From the installations which focus on the relativity of things (It’s True, it’s a Lie, 1998) and the 

Vibrations caused by musical sound waves, to the recent installation Thing-In-Itself (2002) created during her period

of residence at the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York and the mural interactive installation

Innocent with elements of sound and light, the artist creates severe, minimalist installations which demand of the spectator 

that he undergo experiences of conception and, simultaneously,‘de-materialization’ of perceptual phenomena, thereby

enhancing the concept of relativity and fluidity of precise truth and given reality.

She herself acknowledges that the new techniques of image processing are now introducing a supremely complex, 

hybrid relationship, based on specific concepts such as globalization, numeration, simulation of ‘virtuality’, the emergence 

and conception of a transformed, virtual space-time, a development that reinforces the relationships of interaction and the 

contribution of chance.

In her attempt to structure an integrated, personal system with special codes of perception an communication, Kariotaki

has made a thorough study of philosophical texts (Kant, Hegel) which explore the concepts of the phenomena of perception,

antinomy, appearance, relativity and, above all, the Thing-in-Itself, the thing, as it exists ‘by itself’, abstracted from our 

impression of it or our knowledge, as these concepts occur in the theories of Kant and Hegel. Her installations are 

“sensory episodes detached from the sequence of events we know as duration. The continuing weave in which our 

minds insert the discontinuous designs that represent our actions is no more than the laborious and artificial construction 

of our own mind. We have no grounds whatsoever to assert the reality of duration” (Gaston Bachelard, L ’Intuition de l’ interest)

Dr. Sania Papa 

Art Theorist

Director of Thessaloniki Centre for Contemporary Art