ΛΕΓΕΙΝ / LEGERE
Painting exhibition by María Galván Cobo
Fokianou Art Space
From the Indo-European root (Leg-) which originally meant to choose, to pick, to discern, two verbs were born. The ancient Greek verb “ΛΕΓΕΙΝ” (Legein) and the Latin verb, “LEGERE”. Even though, these cognates share the same, inherited root, their meanings are different. While in Greek “ΛΕΓΕΙΝ” means “TO SPEAK” in Latin the verb “LEGERE” means “TO READ”.
Using these verbs symbolically and metaphorically, we could relate the verb Λέγειν to oral culture, a culture in which myths were communicated in ancient times, when they were somehow interpretable and fluid. Λέγειν also represents the present continuous and fluid narration that is not petrified through writing yet.
On the other hand in the case of the verb Legere, we are confronting a narrative already processed, already written and therefore already stated, where the variations in its body are no longer possible.
If we relate these terms also with time, Legere would represent what has already happened and has been “written”. The symbolism of every word has already been establish, by the time of our reading, passing through the social filter and therefore somehow losing its primary flow when it belonged to the oral world, to the “legein world” that “speaks” constantly with us.
By taking social imaginary elements out of their usual context, we create new dialogues, new identities.
Every person usually seeks
to become rooted in a tradition,
to find a verification of their identity,
to be traced to a prestigious past,
to establish a genealogy between the past and the present, to feel anchored in familiar territory, in solid ground, building an image around this reality that responds to a common identity.
LEGERE to LEGEIN
Assimilating different aspects of romantic culture and mythology, this series of paintings, painted on awning (tent) fabric, are uniting the everyday world, represented by the material (awning), with the prestigious cultural historical discourse, giving us a new visual perspective open to interpretation.
The awning, a practical and functional element of Greek day-to-day life, is part of a common Greek collective social imaginary, meaning that everyone can recognize the fabric and the pattern and connect it with the interior of a house, with domestic privacy.
By removing this material from its usual context is giving it a new status.
By redefining this material and using it as a canvas to represent versions of classic imaginaries that are part of the cultural identity, i.e.legere, is forming a new reality.
This process opens the door to reenter the oral world, Legein, and therefore be exposed to new interpretations.
LEGEIN to LEGERE
The visually represented “legein” has a different meaning than the day-to-day practicality.
Banal objects of the modern culture happen to belong to the privileged narrative of the painting and therefore to the historic legitimization. Inspired by the still lifes of romanticism, this project promotes a dialogue on how the banal and mundane can sometimes be more representative of each historical moment than the privileged images powered and enriched with religious or political symbolism.
The rhetoric of the historic facts that have been shown to us in the classical pictorial culture are questioned. Which are the images that better portray an era?