Bia Davou – A retrospective

Athens Conservatoire

The retrospective exhibition of Bia Davou (1932-1996) and those to come in the following years, is part of our exhibition policy, which, in its historical axis, aims to highlight the historical depth of contemporary art in Greece, emphasizing the experimental and critical explorations and realizations of the 1960s and 1970s. The major survey The Years of Defiance: The Art of the 70s in Greece, organized in 2005 by EMST, paved the way for in-depth knowledge and critical re-examination of Greece’s recent history through selected presentations of individual artists who are renowned to a greater or lesser degree.
The first exhibition of this cycle was twice overdue for us.
Exploratory and poetic by definition, Davou’s oeuvre, represented with singular completeness in the Museum collection, following the large donation by Zafos Xagoraris in 2002, signals the emergence of conceptual and language-based tendencies and directions that liberated the artistic praxis from the artistic object, shifting the focus from the aesthetic end product to concepts, practices and processes. Drawings, essays, photocopies, collages, words and texts form the majority of this work, whose investigation focuses on bridging the gap between artistic creation and science, on crossing different codes, systems and languages, particularly poetry and mathematics. The artist’s transition from an abstract problematique and investigation of the limits of the visual language in her early accomplished paintings, dating from the 1960s, could be considered as the first, perhaps necessary, stage in this artistic enquiry which lasted until the very end. Colour forms, drawing signs and variations which emerge in the very act of writing herald the ensuing drawing tautologies based on mathematical data, and images jointly articulated by drawings, dots and verse units, mathematically arranged.
Writing, always at the centre of the creative process, discloses to us the two-sided nature of things and the poetic depth of Bia Davou’s oeuvre.

Curated by Stamatis Schizakis and Tina Pandi