Lia Kazakou in Thessaloniki

Lia Kazakou, Untitled, 2024, detail

It has been eight years since Lia Kazakou presented a solo exhibition in her hometown of Thessaloniki. While her choice of motifs has largely remained the same – fragments of clothing, the front view of a dress, a single sleeve, the folds around a zipper – something has changed in the way she portrays them, imbuing the motifs with greater ambiguity. This development can be seen in the current exhibition titled Μύχια Ύλη, which could be translated as Innermost Matter. 

In a large work at the entrance (all works Untitled, 2023-24), a range of greens, from shiny pale to matte dark, coexist within a single canvas depicting a coat with a waistband, slightly opened. In a smaller work, a deep blue with dark shadows, light creating the impression of a film fragment. The fabric in the 15 paintings in the show is opulent, rich texture depicted in detail, with folds and the interplay of light and shadow. As the clothing is often portrayed close up, the viewer is denied the full picture or the appearance of the figure wearing the garment, with only a strip of skin hinting at their presence.

Throughout the exhibition, the motifs easily transition from their figurative origins into abstraction, from identifiable objects into patterns of parallel lines or gradations of colors. What initially seems like soft fabric may simultaneously evoke the touch of harder materials such as bone, wood, or metal. This material flexibility appears to stem from Kazakou’s increased freedom and confidence in handling her subject matter. Over the years, her motifs have gained intensity in color, accompanied by a heightened sense of plasticity. The motifs appear not just as garments, but as matter with an essence.

Innermost Matter is on view till 11 May, 2024 at Donopoulos IFA , 3 Agias Theodoras in Thessaloniki. The image shows a detail of Untitled, 2024, oil on linen, 110 x 70 cm.