Post Notes and Edited Versions

Εικαστικες Τεχνες

Επιμελεια Εικαστικων Εκθεσεων

Γλώσσα πρωτότυπου κειμένου: Αγγλικά

Post Notes and Edited Versions is a text co-written by Valinia Svoronou and Eva Vaslamatzi on the occasion of Svoronou’s solo show The moonless mountain curated by Olympia Tzortzi at Callirrhoe in November-December 2022. In the exhibition, Svoronou worked around family narratives related to her Asia Minor origin and referred to Akylas Millas (b.1934, Istanbul), a doctor and writer, whose detailed sketches witness the Rum (Romioi) community’s activity in Istanbul and the Princes’ Islands. As the exhibition was an “endeavor to explore and to give a form to the notion of memory and to the transmission of oral history”¹ Svoronou and Vaslamatzi are extending this direction by merging memories transmitted by their parents and grandparents, related to their common origin, in combination with fictional elements. Deciding to co-narrate a story through the eyes of a female character, they aim to strengthen the potential for a transgenerational exchange.

Valinia Svoronou, Running in the Çarşı Market, 2022 Graphite on Paper 56 x 49.5 cm
Valinia Svoronou, Running in the Çarşı Market, 2022 Graphite on Paper 56 x 49.5 cm

Her house was next to the Hellenic Telecommunication Center. The building was decorated with seven ceramic panels made by Panos Valsamakis. She knew she was approaching home when she saw these panels, featuring Hermes and other figures of Greek mythology together with depictions of telecommunication in modern times.

She was sitting in the living room eating ice cream that she had ordered through a delivery app. She talked to herself about summers she hadn’t experienced, while eating the ice cream in an adult summer of the present. Her flashbacks / their flashbacks, her childhood / their childhood; the veil becomes thinner and time is measured once again via consumption of sweets. Names of treats that felt familiar came to her mind. She didn’t speak Turkish, but was obsessed with some words.

Valinia Svoronou, Fluttering Pamphlets I, 2022. White clay ceramic 17.5 x 27 x 7 cm . Fluttering Pamphlets III, 2022. White clay ceramic 19 x 19.5 x 4 cm . Fluttering Pamphlets IV, 2022. White clay ceramic 26 x 16 x 5 cm

A kind of traditional hard candy that could be found in an array of flavors. Her favorites were cinnamon, rose and the one with sedefi (pearl in turkish) color.

The tastiest thing. She thought that you can’t find it anywhere in Istanbul anymore. It was an Armenian recipe. She remembers it as some kind of edible skin that enveloped something she couldn’t remember in terms of substance, only that it was the tastiest thing she had ever found.


These delectable pistachio tasting treats that looked like smooth pistachio colored spheres with filling. Almost like a smoothed out, sugar coated and edited version of a pistachio. She doesn’t remember the exact name.

Her story was connected with those of many. Most of them she never met in person. They appeared to her life as characters whose charm was probably based on the fact that she would never meet them. A dark-dressed woman waving from her balcony, an old lady looking suspiciously at the lens, a girl wearing a necklace made of elephant-bone in the shape of small tulips. Girls, women, elders, all of them waving at her from another moment in time and space that she escaped to when needed. Escapist feelings did not always follow her memories; only her connection to this non-place.

“When someone thinks about you long enough you always have a place to come home to, in their memories”, she thought.

He owned a gazoz factory named after his sister. The recipe for this special carbonated sweetened water was his secret.

He was hospitalized. The sun had set and time was fractured. All she was left to safeguard amounted to: a type of ID card stating “alien of Greek descent” -what does it mean to have lived as an alien since the 60s?- and a gold ring with 3 stones. When she and her sister were young he used to say “the small gems on the side represent my kids and grandkids, the large gem in the middle represents my wife”.

Stone setting consisted of tedious labor that was honed with years of experience; senior craftsmen would try and keep the knowledge amongst themselves. He learned the craft from an Armenian friend. Constantly he would perceive a figure passing nervously next to his window in Kapali Carsi. Probably a thief, he would think. He had been working on a precious belt for her. When he finished it, he carved on it: “The world’s most resilient are the ones that never harm themselves”

Valinia Svoronou, The White Rose I, 2022 Ceramic 28 x 66 x 12 cm

He was waiting for Sunday to go to the Princes’ Islands with his family so that they could sit calmly in the shadow of pine trees and drink a refreshing gazoz water all together.

She is in the bathroom. She holds her kids close to her. They are throwing stones at the house, breaking the windows.

The sea of Marmara was hot and welcoming in the summer, their summer house was in Proti. Everyday, they would wait for him to show up from work, in the ‘quai’. The fashionable language at the time was French. Just by the little port the kids would enjoy a palmier from the small island’s patisserie. The long strip of land after the basic shoreline of the port was called Akasia. It is where kids used to cycle and run free, but mostly spy on a big gated house covered in vines. She thought she remembered that they had pet monkeys there and that was what excited the children’s curiosity.

He was drawing in his office. It all came from his memories. He was a football doctor. He remembered every corner of his house, also the plants and, most importantly, the insects.

In the big terrace, at the back of their house, something is slowly steaming in the mangal. The smoke becomes one with the warmth of the afternoon, inside a paper parcel a portion of sard is boiling with vegetables. Children are playing besides the cloud of scent coming from the herbs. A little boy tells his friend: ‘Tell your mum to serve the food this instant or I am leaving’.

She looked outside the window. On the shores of Bosporus young kids were running. They are excited they have put together a contraption to steal figs from fig trees in gardens. They are quietly happy for a moment.

Were they Ottoman Greeks? he asked. She felt ashamed, not knowing such an important detail. She just knew that they had Turkish passports and that they couldn’t get a Greek one for many years and that Athens seemed like a village when they first arrived in the 50s. Nobody ever narrated anything to her. She had to translate the silence. Their story exists in their silence.

Valinia Svoronou (b. 1991 Athens) is an artist based between Athens and London. She graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art (MFA Sculpture 2015) and the Athens School of Fine Arts (BA Painting 2013). In 2016 she had her first solo show, The glow pt 2, gravity regimes, in Berlin’s Frankfurt am Main project space. She co-organised the Ambiguity Symposiums presented at The Showroom Gallery, The Slade School and Enclave in London. In the same year she showed work in the Benaki museum in Athens as part of the show ‘The Equilibrists’ co-organised by the New Museum and the Deste Founda- tion. In 2017 created and launched her first artist publication based at Space Studios, now available at the ICA bookshop London and showed new work at the Showroom Gallery commissioned by the arts council UK. In 2018, showed her work in Prague’s Futura gallery as part of the Group show and publication curated by Lukas Hoffman, in Italy, Foothold projects space as part of a group show curated by Christina Gigliotti, in Lesvos as part of a group show curated by Nikolas Vamvouklis amongst other and her work was also shown in a solo presentation with Hot Wheels Projects as part of Art Athina in
Athens. This year, she participated in the ICA self publisher’s fair in London, was part of the Ephemeral Dinner series with Tjorg Douglas Beer, curated by Yulia Belousova in Berlin’s Haus am Lutzowplatz, and screened new moving image work in Haus N Athen. Recently, she was part of the group show ‘The Same River Twice’, curated by Margot Norton and Natalie Bell organised by the Deste Foundation and the New Museum, and showed one of her films in the screening programme of Art Athina. In 2020 she presented some research as part of the online platform initiated by TBA21 The Ocean archive, launched an augmented reality app as part of her solo exhibition titled ‘Endymion’ at the Theocharakis Foundation in Athens curated by Panos Giannikopoulos and presented a duo exhibition at Pet Projects Athens. Within 2021 she will participate in the Athens Biennale and Mediterranea 19, Young Artist Biennale in San Marino. She has been awarded the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Artist Fellowship by ARTWORKS in 2019.

Eva Vaslamatzi (SNF ARTWORKS Fellow 2019) is an independent curator and writer currently based in Athens, Greece.

¹ From Olympia Tzortzi’s curatorial text.