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From desert to art

The Atacama Desert is one of the driest places in the world and, located in South America it’s not the easiest of lands for someone to get to from our region. That didn’t stop Greek artist Nikomachi Karakostanoglou-Boutari though and upon returning from her travels she will present her impressions and feelings from the Atacama Desert at an exhibition in Nicosia.

“The Atacama watercolours are uplifting in their neutrality,” say organisers. “Nikomachi’s original wash-out technique rises to sub-divisions of indeterminate hues.”

This technique creates certain doubts in the viewer. “Are the divisive lines across the frames open to osmosis? Can the perceived colours be clearly named? Still, despite the uncertainty, they emanate a sense of peace through their fading yet vibrant palette and supple over-layering,” organisers add.

The Atacama resembles no other desert. Its low temperatures, at any given time of night or day, produce tints of pastel that create a unique sensorial experience. This barren land has captivated Nikomachi’s vision and has become a fertile ground for her work. Her latest collection, presented at Is Not Gallery in Nicosia deciphers the mythical immensity of the desert as she sees it.

“I came back from the desert with my eyes filled with Atacama’s blinding light. It was so intense and powerful that I closed them and I started capturing the vibrations that I lived the past 30 days. I tried to enclose in the water with my transparent inks the energy of the sunset as I enjoyed it every afternoon at 19:19. I was very interested in the commonplace that occurs when energies, forms and colours meet,” Nikomachi said.

The Greek artist, born and raised in Athens, studied sculpture and public art in London. She is based in her home city and has lived and worked for three years in Shanghai. Her style of work is minimalistic in form but maximalist in context. Her brushstroke is elliptical and laden with symbolism. Being a sculptress, her abstract drawings are sketches of almost imperceptible three-dimensional animated forms.

During her studies, she evolved the notion of Sculpting Space, a design concept that will unfold throughout her artistic career. In 1998 she founded her studio SculptingSpace where she started to apply this philosophy on several design projects. In 2011 she departed for Shanghai where she worked intensively on restaurant design and branding.

Meanwhile, she studied Chinese calligraphy through which she explores new forms of capturing water and transparency. Since her return from Shanghai, she works exclusively on her drawings, challenging herself with the scale of her artworks and with the materials she has been collecting during her journeys in Asia.

For Nikomachi notions like light, movement, the frustrating rhythm of everyday life and silence provide the main inspiration of her art and design works.

The exhibition will be opened on December 6 by Yiannis Boutari, former Mayor of Thessaloniki and wine producer.



Art exhibition by Greek artist following an art residency she completed in Atacama Desert in South America. December 6-January 6. Is Not Gallery, Nicosia. Tuesday-Thursday: 3pm-7pm. Friday: 3pm-8pm. Saturday:10am-2pm. Tel: 99-569498

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