The main reflection running through my work is related to the “habitat” as energy and as
an action, not directly individual, but as a gesture within the social realm. My quest is not
limited to mapping the borders between the inside and the outside, those that protect the
interior and it’s occupant from a hostile exterior environment; What most concerns me is
the very opening of the thinking about habitation, the tenant and the relationship between
them, as generated by the social structures that create the public-private framework of
My recent work focuses on what we call the «anonymous» or otherwise «folk» architecture
in Greece. It is a form pre-capitalistic habitation, crude by today’s standards, but able to
create a very solid social fabric. Changes in the production models and economy led this
building tradition to oblivion, towards the archeology of architecture. Through my study of
these structures I do not wish to research a fossil, but to better understand what potentially
constitutes the place of the canny (heimlich).
.We were young back then and we believed
that we could change the world … «
During DOCUMENTA14 CAN Gallery presents the first solo exhibition of Maro Fasouli (b.1980).
In the exhibition entitled «Picnic in North Korea» Fasouli discovers and transforms parts from the personal archive and collection of the architect Jenny P. into works-tributes to a woman she never met. Jenny P. was born in Piraeus in 1934. In 1950 she left Greece for Paris in order to study architecture. She soon became a member of the D.E.S.A. and joined the French Communist Party with whom she begun to travel regularly to several countries like North Korea. She lived and worked in Paris until her retirement and in 1997 she returned to Athens where she lived in Zografou until her death in 2014.
Focusing on the years between 1960 and 1978 Fasouli manipulates archival material like travel photos from North Korea, slides, personal items, pages from a publication dedicated to the Sacred Mountain of the Revolution (Mount Paektu), architectural studies, even snapshots from a carefree picnic with friends in a Parisian suburb on May ’68. This very personal account is drawn in a period of intense ideological and social developments in Europe that is revealed through texts, photographs, drawings and narratives of Jenny P. and her close circle of family and friends.
What were the dreams and expectations of those times? The architectural projects undertaken by Jenny P. during her career were mainly working class housing projects in various suburbs of the rapidly expanding Paris of the time. She was interested -as she put it- in an architecture «for the people». For many, as well as for her, that was the opportunity of urban planning and architecture to bring about changes in world’s perceptions around social structures. Through a large collection of information that could form Jenny P.’s profile, those characteristics who are of particular importance to Fasouli -beyond of course her status as an architect- is her position as a leftist, feminist, immigrant and traveler -and not necessarily to this exact order.
The process followed by Fasouli ultimately remains open and inexhaustible as she processes fragments and recreates an imaginary and ultimately timeless image of Jenny P. from which the elements that would eventually lead to the identification of the real-life person and its time are missing.
As Jenny mentions in an essay from 1966: «In our time, however, more than yesterday the urban planning problem has become one of the most important. In the big cities of today, man suffocates and wonders about the future of his city, the City. As far as to the question of which will the future of the city be, we can only reply to that by placing it in the right economic-social-political context. We will not be able to change the city in depth unless we change society first. And the question WHAT CITY should be replaced by the question WHAT SOCIETY? »
The installation was presented at the solo show “Picnic in North Korea”, in CAN Christina Androulidaki Gallery , Athens, Greece
Maro Fasouli explores once again different aspects of folk
architecture and its difference from the architectural design.
The folk habitat is dictated by the natural human need for
housing as well as the availability of materials provided by
the local environment. The structural need is satisfied here
through an incomplete, yet solid establishment, through a de
facto objectivity and not an “objectivity” of things. A static
state, shaped by the energy of the constructive gesture, not
the passivity of a conscious design. Maro Fasoulis’ installation
is not grounded, but it is built point against point, thus
seems to levitate in a structural inadequacy, though in reality
it just shows its unique firmness.
Apostolis Artinos, Exhibition Curator
The work «Home Sweet Home» in it’s original version, in 2010, was
presented in a cave, as a part of the exhibition «Oasis in Oasis» in
Skironio Museum Polychronopoulos.
During transportation, it was
partially destroyed. This incident led to a small revelation, a lapsus
linguae; thanks to chance, a new, ambivalent work emerged, since
this new title maybe elicits what the initial one tried to withhold.
The intellectual separation of the inside from the outside offers the
bidirectional safety of a simultaneous alienation-introversion.
A «borderline» point, which ideally includes the familiarity of the building.
A lapsus linguae, a bouncing of meaning, elements that are able to
remove any familiarizing meaming allocation.
The second version of the installation was presented in the exhibition
“Failure”, in the 5th edition of the platform “The Symptom Projects” ,
The installation was part of the group show “Afresh, a new generation
of greek artists” at the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST),
The reuse of a particular group of houses, such as the cottages in
Tinos, not for reasons related to agricultural activities anymore (cattlebreeding,
agriculture, bee-keeping, etc.), but as summer cottages, is
a very recent phenomenon with often doubtful results. It mainly arises
from the changing of a local community’s income resources which leads
to the mutation of these buildings. The new building will have to be able
to serve the modern needs of a holidaymaker on his vacation. The new
owner will adjust these needs upon the ruined landscape of a previously
The observation of these phenomena and the study of the alteration
of the textures through the change of living habits in these buildings
brought about the construction entitled Spreads of Defense. comes
up. It is a hybrid, fortified structure of materials, textures and ways
of building that are widely used in reconstructions of this type of
accommodation today, but also in traditional structures of the region,
which have almost disappeared. The four drawings that accompany
the construction indicate each time one of the four basic types of
construction systems A, B, C and D, which have been found on the sites
of the Exo Meria region of Tinos, as well as information for every type.
Dafni Vitali – Dafni Dragona – Tina Pandi
The installation was part of the group show “Head Start”, Elefteria’s Park, Athens, Greece
Maro Fasouli’s sculptures combine drawings and processed photocopies, so that she may put forward two concepts: the encompassed space and the occupation of that space. In relation to these concepts, she is preoccupied with the developing connection between the built structure and its tenant, the effect of the division of space into exterior and interior and the effect of the wall as a transitional stage, which belongs neither inside nor outside. Furthermore, she examines the importance of a one-way viewing from the inside out and, finally, weather the outside space can exist as an autonomous and independent reality in comparison to the inside of an encompassed dwelling. Inspired by photographs of summer houses in various parts of the world, Fasouli creates closed, solid structures, which depict homes with no entrance, thus blocking the viewer from any access to their interior.
Anna Chatzinasiou – Alexandra Oikonomou