The solo exhibition Anima I of Jannis Varelas comprises a new series of paintings as the outcome of a process of performances and metamorphoses of the self. With these works Varelas goes back to the images of the body, exploring the gendered cultural representations of the human figure.
The artist chooses his models among his friends and neighbours, and has them dressed specifically to be photographed in the specially laid out setting of his studio together with everyday objects from the Historical Collections of the Benaki Museum as well as seemingly unimportant or trivial objects from the fleeting wanderings of urban or domestic life. The photographic rendering of the event provides the semantic raw material; it is then transferred onto the canvas and transformed and diffracted by the language of painting.
The title of the exhibition, Anima I, harks back to the archetypes of the analytical psychology of Carl Gustav Jung and alludes to the way in which Varelas sees the representations of the self as a fantasy construction associated with a series of unconscious phenomena and the various manifestations of the collective unconscious. The Anima, in this case, explores the multiple images of the self through myths and transformations, visions and spectres. The cycle of Anima I works is organised in series around subjects such as solitude, mental anxiety, androgyny, sexuality, rejection, loss, crude liberation, marginalisation, inhibited identities and the transition from private to public.
The series is to be presented in a setting that features also archive material, photographs, objects and costumes from the preparatory stages of the performative process.
The exhibition is coproduced by Onassis Foundation.