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Diving into Annie Riga's art.

Updated: May 1

Annie Riga is a visual artist based in Athens and London. Her art varies in media and disciplines between painting, sculpture, and installation. Her artworks have participated in numerous exhibitions in Greece, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. As written on her website: Through this interchange between materialities and dimensions, she contemplates on the relations between conscious and unconscious, tamed and unruly - inviting the viewer to enter a liminal state where these contrasting states harmoniously converge into a singular experience.

Join us and get to know Annie and her work with us!

1. Your art seems to carry a ritualistic process. If so, would you like to describe your process and what inspires you to start your ‘ritual’?

When I think of ritual, I envision a sacred convergence of objects and actions, a prescribed order of steps leading towards a higher state of being or consciousness. This concept resonates deeply with my practice, where each creation unfolds as a continuous dialogue between the tangible and the intangible, the material and the psychic.

In painting, I embark on my ritual by initiating instinctive mark-making on unstretched canvas. Drawing from the techniques of early surrealists, I embrace chance by pouring paint and experimenting with decalcomania. These unpredictable gestures serve as the foundation upon which the painting evolves.

As the work progresses, I impose conscious order and structure upon the canvas, shaping the evolving abstraction into a coherent whole. This process of navigating between chaos and control mirrors the workings of the conscious and the unconscious, each informing the other in a symbiotic or sometimes even polemic exchange.

2. When somebody faces your art the first thing they notice is your usage of textures and gestural brushstrokes. How do you integrate these techniques and principles to evoke the sense of ‘in-betweeness’ in your spatial quality? In which ways do they enrich the viewer’s experience?

I’m really interested in bridging a dialogue between the virtual aspect of a painting and the material possibilities of its surface, and their co-existence within physical space itself.

The texture definitely plays a role in achieving this. I apply impasto techniques on the works, weave found fabric or threads through the canvas, I fold it, and often physically cut through it. These cuts, in a way, forcefully integrate the painting into physical space, adding layers of depth and physicality to the work.

Simultaneously, the gestural brushstrokes while being tied to the surface of the canvas, create an illusion of depth and movement, further enhancing the spatial ambiguity of the work. I guess through this interplay between two and three-dimensional planes I want the viewer to experience the ‘body’ of the painting, as presently as the painting itself.

As the work enters physical space and evolves into some kind of hybrid between painting and sculpture, I aim to engage the viewer in a sensory dialogue. This dialogue transcends the visual-centric focus of the pictorial space – emphasizing instead the somatic interactions between the viewer and the work.

3. Your art encompasses a diverse range of mediums such as sculptures, moving images, and installations. How do you manage to balance out the concept of the real and the imagined in order to maintain your liminal quality across different forms of expression?

While maintaining my primary focus on painting, I've adopted an 'expanded' approach across various disciplines and materials. For example, a sculpture might emerge organically from a painted image, extending the 'imagined' dimension into the 'real' physical space. I also employ a lot of juxtaposing materials. For example, I use found industrial objects with sharp edges and synthetic contours to complete the more 'dreamy' imagery of my paintings and crafts.

I am increasingly drawn to the ambiguity between mediums and spaces as my practice evolves. Inspired by post-humanist feminism, I'm intrigued by the liminality between body and mind, human and non-human, which manifests in my hybrid use of materials and my invitation for the viewer to experience the work as an immersive experience. I want to create ecosystems where this ‘leakiness’ between bodily boundaries and spaces becomes more apparent.

4.How do you incorporate pictorial elements (like painting) within your installations?

I begin by creating paintings on unstretched canvas, where I employ techniques like cutting, stitching, and folding to manipulate their surfaces. These manipulated canvases serve as the foundation of my installations. Once the paintings are complete, I explore various means of hanging and displaying them within the exhibition space, often moving them away from the wall to create space for interaction.

As the paintings hang within the space, I compose a narrative around them, considering how they interact with other materials and objects that I have foraged or created. Sometimes, the pictorial space expands onto sculptures, where I use the surface of ceramics to extend the imagery initiated in the paintings.

In a sense, I try to remove painting from solely its pictorial domain, but in another sense, I feel like I want to turn the entire installation into a pictorial immersion. I guess I am on this quest to find out for myself answers to questions like: What can be painted? What remains of the painting when you expand it? Etc...

5. Looking towards future projects, how do you envision pushing the boundaries of your artistic practice while sticking to your core themes?

In the future, my goal is to deepen the hybridity and ambiguity of materials within my expanded painting practice. While I'm increasingly drawn to the sleek, techno-industrial aesthetics of contemporary materiality, I also aim to nurture the traditional qualities of mediums stemming from domestic craft practices in my Greek heritage. I aspire to cultivate a dialogue that bridges these stark juxtapositions of varying levels of production, materiality, and meaning.

We would like to thank this wonderful artist for being with us this week!

Make sure to follow Annie on Instagram and discover more of her art.

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