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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 28 July 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 28 JULY 2018 19 ART explorer setting off on his second journey to explore the Antarctic is even more haunting as it was his last mission. "Captain Scott took this photograph himself, in the last moments of his final journey," Kontis says. "There is something about those photos that just really gets to me. I love the quality of them. I love the moments of fine detail in this broad expanse, this void. The snow, the ice, they are just stunning. They are also tinged with tragedy as they knew that they were going to die. I found it very moving." How Kontis decides on what she will draw is through an image's imperfection. Which is in contrast to the way photos are taken today with people using the perfect I’m really fascinated by the difficulties and tensions associated with the act of recollecting. I used to think memories were something solid I could return to again and again, but now I think differently. Our memories shift and change. We make and remake our memories. shot to post on Facebook and Instagram. "For me, that kind of detail is just too much," she says. "This is why I like old analogue photographs. Sometimes it's the whole image, sometimes it's just an element within the image that I want to work with. I love the random photos from people's family albums. I particularly like the accidents – the cropped figures, the closed eyes, or figures out of focus." Another pattern running through her work is that many drawings are from images that were taken between the 1930s and 50s. Where photography was initially restricted to wealthy families having their portraits taken in a studio, everyday families could take their own photos with cameras like an Olympus or a Kodak, she explains. Kontis' work has been exhibited all over the world, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Gitte Weise Galerie in Berlin, the Shanghai Art Museum, and the Tate Modern in London. Despite her vast experience over the past decade, she reveals that starting a new piece for her latest show in Melbourne next month almost makes her feel like she's a beginner again. "I always feel uneasy whenever I return to the studio and draw, especially if I have a little break for whatever reason," she says. "I feel like I have to remember what to do or relearn what to do. But I love pressure. If I didn't have any pressure I would spend a lot of time in coffee shops, binge watching TV series and reading. I get a lot done when I have deadlines. I really need them." See Maria Kontis' work being exhibited at the Spring 1883 Art Fair at Hotel Windsor (111 Spring St, Melbourne, VIC) from 1-4 August and at the Sydney Contemporary Art Fair at Carriageworks (245 Wilson St, Eveleigh, NSW) from 13-16 September. For more, visit darrenknightgallery.com/artists/kontis/ In the presence of your body (2018). Pastel on velvet paper, 56 x 76 cm. Gigantic Youth (2016). Pastel on velvet paper, 56.5 x 76 cm. My master and yours (2007). Pastel on velvet paper, 30 x 34 cm. Argument for a stationary earth (2012) features Kontis’ mother on the bottom. As if to remind her of the animal life (2016). Pastel on velvet paper, 56.5 x 76 cm. Manfred Fritsch (2012). Pastel on velvet paper, 79 x 76.5 cm.
21 July 2018
4 August 2018