Giota Andriakaina




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Athens Voice


Artists Biography/Events description *

Giota Andriakaina was born in Athens, Greece.

She holds a degree in Economics from the Athens University of Economics and Business as well as a degree in Fine Art from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of Visual and Applied Arts, where she studied under the supervision of the artists K.Katzourakis, D.Zouroudis, B.Venetopoulos, V.Vasilakakis

Solo exhibitions

• How to cross a thread bridge,Gallery 7, Athens,2017

• Under pressure, Vitrina OTE , Greece,2017

• Not a day without a line, Artis Causa, Greece, 2016

• If life were a thread, Telloglion Art Foundation Museum, Greece, 2016

• “From A Thread” , Museum of Contemporary Art of Florina Greece,2015

She has participated in numerous group exhibitions including

• Greek Artists Trips,Aqua Gallery,Santorini,2017 • Memory and oblivion, Art Gallery Poseidon,Limnos,2016 • Gallery Moravian Museum, Otakarova 103, Uherské Hradiště,2016 • The meaning of being an animal,Gallery Genesis,Athens,2016 • Textile art of Today,Museum Bielsko,Poland ,2016 • Transitions,Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art,2016 • Textile Art of Today,Castle of Bratislava,Slovakia,2015 • Inductions and Modifications,Choros 18,Creece,2015 • Inspire,Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art,Greece,2015 • Art Athina,Greece,2014 • 5th triennial of tapestry,Novi Sad,Serbia,2014 • Our Byzantium?,Museum of Byzantine Culture,Greece,2014 • Justice and Art,Goethe Institut,Greece,2014 • Lachesis,Gallery 7,Greece,2013 • Frames of Mind,Choros 18 & Artis Causa,Greece,2013 • Texture-Discourse-Writing,Choros 18,Greece,2011 • 15th Biennale de la Mediterranee-Simbiosis?,Greece,2011


Description of projects

The Artist, the Artisan andthe Thread-Bricoleur Pictures with Stories
Eleni D. Andriakaina *
I am a draper mad with love. I love you more than all the flannelette and calico, candlewick, dimity, crash and merino, tussore, cretonne, crepon, muslin, poplin, ticking and twill in the whole Cloth Hall of the world.
Dylan Thomas, Under Milk Wood
Υiota Andriakaina is interested in the trope of weaving and storytelling. Her work explores the visual and narrative possibilities of the thread.
She experiments with her material, admires its plasticity and power, whilst testing its limits and endurance. She addresses and hearkens the thread like the enamoured architect Louis Khan, the brick whisperer, asks his materialfor advice -What do you want, thread?
The thread frequently remains silent and indecisive; it wanders on the canvas without any purpose. Sometimes, it is transformed into a rhinoceros and tames a frightened child. Occasionally, it replicates tradition; following the trace of Velázquez or Titian, the thread translates their work into its own peculiar and erratic, yet so familiar and mundane, language. Other times, it becomes a narrative thread and weaves the life stories of anonymous people, the passers-by in life. At hard times, the thread squeezes itself into a tangling thought and becomes a cry. It unravels slowly and painfully, like patience itself.
* Eleni D. Andriakaina is Assistant Professor (Historical Sociology), at the Department of Political Science and History, Panteion University of Social & Political Sciences.

Mitos, Ariadne’s Ball of Thread, and Metis’s Practical Intelligence
Mitos, thread, yarn, interlace, invention, crossing, web.
The history of the thread and its economic, political and symbolic uses is as old as human history itself. In the myth of the Minotaur,Mitos, Ariadne’s thread, led Theseus, the king of Athens, out of the Labyrinth.
Metis was Zeus’s first wife, the mother of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, and of Poros, whose characteristic trait was creative ingenuity. Zeus coveted her fantastic ability to transform and combine miscellaneous elements, and her skill in attuning with kairos, the changing, contingent circumstances.So he swallowed Metis, the goddess of practical intelligence and unuttered knowledge.
After Metis’s disappearance inside Zeus’s belly, we are left to believe that wisdom, judgment and human creativity are products of cognition, as it is often the case with conceptualism and the relevant Isms, rationalism and intellectualism. In the well- known representations, Athena, Metis’s daughter, appears leaping from Zeus’s


However, the birth of the goddess of wisdom would not be possible without the creative intervention of a craftsman, the blacksmith Hephaestus.
Cunning Odysseus, striving to devise a way out, to find a resource in penury, was also gifted with the extraordinary ability of artisanal intelligence.Animals, especially the weak ones, who have developed camouflage and transformation abilities to escape from their stronger adversaries in the battle for survival, are also gifted with metis.
Like in Yiota Andriakaina’s dreamy pictures of the wondering child wandering in the land of insects, birds and animals, in Metis’s world, humans and nature constitute a cosmos, a diversified unity.
A varied yet unified world where the high and the low, the animals, the gods and the humans, myth and reason, the artisan and the artist, Zeus’s belly and head have not forgotten their kinship and their opposition has not been established yet.
William Morris, Social Critique and the Arts and Crafts Movement
Englishman William Morris, the pioneer of the Arts and Crafts movement, is a seminal figure in the historical trajectory of the thread and weaving.
At the end of the 19th century, Morris was an innovator relying on tradition, a designer who drew inspiration from the past to criticize the present, the instrumental rationality of modernity and the deification of technology. Morris opposed the pleasure experienced by the artisan for his work to the alienation experienced by the unskilled labourer in the era of massive production.The creativity of the thread gets exalted on Morris’s fabrics and textiles. Craft converses with art; it does not produce merely use or exchange values, but also aesthetic ones. Craft seeks to offer an aesthetic pleasure to the user and to the producer.
The writings and the artwork of this peculiar socialist reminds us of an era when social struggles did not centre around economic demands only, but also around issues of ethics and aesthetics.For Morris, work is not merely a means of livelihood, but carries with it the hope of pleasure in our daily creative skill. The effortless coupling of weaving art with the ethics of work demonstrates that Morris’s social

critique was incorporated in his actions rather than being invoked in advance or ex post to valorise it.
Contemporary scholars discern an ecological sensibility in his textile designs. Birds and flowers, lions and forests, peacocks and medieval dragons, bunches of grapes, vineyards and woodpeckers. In the English designer’s thread-made creations, the different historical durées are intertwined rather than hierarchised. Past, present and future intersect rather than being subjected to a linear, progressive, teleological narrative. In Morris’s tapestry, Ovid’s Metamorphoses of late antiquity meet with the medieval myths and legends and they are both translated into the language of the 19th century, where the Promethean faith in progress encounters its critique.
Yiota Andriakaina’s yarns interlace the scattered threads of history.
They are related to the 19th century and the Brothers Grimm great collection of folk tales weaving an alternative story for the Frog King. Even though he seeks the kiss, Andriakaina’s frog does not want to become a prince, he enjoys his animal nature and his amphibious life.
Andriakaina’s early thread-made artwork of long, white textiles, which narrates the stories of refugees and wandering craftsmen in the first half of the 20th century, also lead an amphibious, double life. For this series of artwork, she drew inspiration from the oral narrations of the inhabitants of Kalamaria and Toumba, who offered her generously their memories from the difficult refugee years.
Now, like then, if life were a thread, it would be stretched.
Weddings, christenings, deaths, ships, journeys, migrations, illnesses and separations. Wood turners, carpenters, machinists, seamstresses, tailor-made suits, saws, paper patterns, architecture designs, life plans and life dreams made of dustand wood shavings. And artefacts made with meticulousness, soul and love (the untranslatable Greek word meraki).

This is the basis of the specialised artisan’s confidence and acute sense of individuality, aware of his/her skills, craftsmanship and the value of his/her work.
This is the set of characteristics mentioned in the relevant studies whether these refer to the history of industrial activities in the English Manchester or the Greek Manchester, that is the 19th century Piraeus, or the pre-revolutionary centres of proto-industrial growth in Peloponnese, in Syros or Thessaly.
Spinning Wheel, Anti-Colonial Struggles and Alternative Modernities
A spinning wheel, charkha, was the symbol of Indian independence and the Indian struggle against the British colonialism.
Instead of idealising or despising tradition, Gandhi converses with the practical knowledge of Indian peasants and artisans and elevates spinning into a symbol of political and economic independence.Like Morris, Gandhi also draws some of his ideas from the English art critic John Ruskin in his account against the devaluation of crafts and the privileging of intellectual work over manual labor.
I am allowed here the temptation of a diverting towards a memory of my student years at the department of Sociology at Panteion University. Back then, in the 1990s, an eccentric professor was lecturing from the podium in room 102 about postmodernism in social sciences and he was urging the young audience to think of intellectual work in holistic, embodied terms.
Gesturing, he was repeating To write, you have to write.
Regardless of subsequent interpretations of Gandhi’s social vision– as a realist or romantic utopia – his interest in manual labour and textiles strives to rescue the dignity of the peasant and the artisan and to designate a source of economic development attuned with the historical particularities of India. The Indian leader sought alternative paths to modernity relieved from the complex of mimicry, from the anxious opposition between the prototype and the caricature, the original and the ersatz.
Gandhi’s familiar image – holding the spinning wheel while wearing a girdle of handmade thread and fabric – refers to a kind of political and work ethics seeking to use what is there, to recycle it, to change it and to transform it, rather than destroying it with the prospect of constructing a promising future on its ruins.

Her interest in the historical trajectories of the thread and in the social and political bearing of textiles and labourers-artisans are manifested in the whole spectre of Yiota Andriakaina’s work: on the large sheets and the fabric banners; on recycling, the attribution of new meaning to old and worn objects, such as the elaborate engraved frames hosting her latest artistic experiments, or the old leather and fabric suitcases with the handmade padding at the corners.
They are also manifest on the large-scale portraits of three women from different generations.
The older transmits to the
younger a reserve of
practical knowledge, a set
of transposable dispositions, a habitus. Even though they communicate on the basis of a common tradition, each image-portrait of the triptych is a modern biography with intense characters and a stunning, unpredictable plot.
Made of colour pixels and small balls of thread, Andriakaina’s female figures converse with the traditional unuttered craft and the modern deafening technology.
Craft-ivism. From the Workshop to the Street and the Museum?
The creative act, when not conceived in apocalyptic terms but as practice, as a process, does not only produce an object but it also produces – simultaneously – the subject: the act of transformation of the working material transforms concurrently the artist herself.
“Emphasising process and change […], recasting the raw material in something that supersedes it, makes knitting a journey which is not only marked by the transformation of an object (the thread) into something else (the knitting), but it also reflects the constantly changing relation between the artisan, artisanship and artefact. In the same way, my own relationship with this piece of writing is constantly changing. The piece pestered me, resisted me and discouraged me. I unravelled it, I dismantled it, I dissected it – but I didn’t leave it half way through”.
This is what Katerina Schina notes on the culture of knitting, the social adventures of the thread in Knit and Purl (2014: 25) – a tremendous study endowed with such sensibility as far as research and literature quality is concerned, that could make a historian of the Annales school turn green with envy and a professional researcher turn red in embarrassment:
from Ariadne’s ball of thread to Penelope’s spinning wheel to the Luddite movement and the destruction of automatic knitting machines at the heart of industrial England; from the Tricoteuses, the red-hatted female knitters of the Reign of Terror

to the counter-culture of the sixties, the charm of the Orient and the symbolic subversion of a Peruvian knitting; from the American knitting clubs and the conservative ideologies of self-help to the feminist deconstructive critique and the destabilisation of gender identities; from the medieval craftsmen guilds in the West to the esnaf of the Ottoman Empire and the activist interventions of the 21st century, like the militant knitting of Crafts Council in London and the Craftivism movement on the web.
The artists and activists’ engagement with the thread and with knitting establishes a continuity between the work of the artisan and the work of the intellectual/artist, it redefines the relationship between artisanship and intellectual/artistic creation and it shifts our interest to the grand history of crafts, fine arts and technology.
What kinds of changes occur in human creativity in the course of the long historical adventure of homo faber and homo ludens, of labour and play? What kind of human type is constructed when practical knowledge is undermined bystandardized knowledge-information and the process of work is divided mechanically in two distinct fields, that isthe design-idea on the one hand and its application- implementation on the other?
In which gaps of history, in which niches of everyday life the multiple, the polytropos, the much travelled, the versatile Metis survives or flourishes? Which aspects of everyday lifestill maintain the poetic character of human activity? Is there a future for human creativity, for the human agent who invests him-/her-self and engages passionately in an activity – whether this is making a spinach pie, crafting a boiserie, writing a historical study or coding?
Even if it is a superficial fashion, an internet “bubble”, a new form of cultural necrophilia, a kind of nostalgia for the good old times, the vivid interest in the thread and the crafts today, in the era of crisis, is a challenge. It provokes the need for a non-totalizing and non-teleological grand narrative whose subject is the relationship between three social types from the pre-industrial, modern and postmodern era – the artisan, the artist and the technocrat.

In the era of deskilling and audit culture, even the last happy artisans shut down their workshops.
Yiota Andriakaina’s knitted dresses turned into cement taking on a spectral appearence. They mimic life and movement but they are things; lifeless and bodiless, empty. They resemble to ghosts who haunt the contemporary political and artistic imaginary. They hang on the hangers, they reclaim a second life, they get in the museum.
Yiota Andriakaina enters the museum, takes the classics off the walls and studies the works of Velázquez, Titian, Manet and Picasso. She seeks a relation of apprenticeship. She follows their trace, she repeats it with a difference and tries to appropriate them whilst translating them into the idiom of the thread.
Here, the creativity of the thread is not guided authoritatively by a desired image to be realised in the future.
It is a creativity whose domain is the present. It is a practice that takes root and flourishes in the now, enjoyed and cherished in the present moment.
The thread draws satisfaction from everyday life, and returns this satisfaction to the here and now transforming thus the user and his/her world every day.
Instead of an Epilogue
YiotaAndriakaina comes and goes.
She was born in Athens but fell in love with Thessaloniki. Her first degree was in economics but she fell in love with the School of Fine Arts.
She grew up at a flat in Patisia, above Mr Dimitris’s workshop: he was always there, bent over his workbench, his tools on the top of the architect’s designs, a strapped pencil on his ear. Her own workshop is a luminous basement at Kalamaria. This is where she studies, experiments and creates pieces made of threads.

Yiota Andriakaina interweaves the history of art and crafts. Her intent is an artistic action aware of the history of art and conscious of its own historicity.
Sometimes she pauses and provisionally tidies up the mess. Then she seeks for our gaze and presents to us a piece of her work.
Not a day without a line.
Σχινά, Κατερίνα. Καλή και Ανάποδη. Ο Πολιτισμός του Πλεκτού. (KaterinaSchina, Knit and Purl. The Culture of Knitting), Athens: Kichli 2014.
Chakrabarty, Dipesh. Habitations of Modernity: Essays in the Wake of Subaltern Studies. Chicago: University of Chicago Press 2002.
Prothero, Iowerth. Artisans and Politics in Early Nineteenth-Century London. John Gast and His Times. Folkestone: Dawson 1979.
Thompson, Palmer Edward. William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary. New York: Pantheon Books 1977.
Trivedi, Lisa. Clothing Gandhi’s Nation. Homespun and Modern India. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press 2007.
Vernant, Jean-Pierre – Marcel Detienne. Μήτις. Η Πολύτροπη Νόηση στην Αρχαία Ελλάδα (Les ruses de l’ intelligence: La mètis des Grecs). Athens: Daedalus – Zacharopoulos 1993.



Interartive,Contemporary art + thought, Semptember 2014
Christina Grammatikopoulou, PhD
Art History and Art Theory
Giota Andriakaina’s “Wefts”, freed of the charge of tradition, redefine the use of the yarn.
They mix the present with the past of art history through the works of Velázquez and Whistler. In her compositions, the idea of wandering is connected to the concept of time.
Through weaving, she associatively creates myths of resistance to the current social reality.
Somewhere she notes: “If life were a thread, it would probably be strained. And if thoughts were skeins, they would definitely be colorful”.
To declare the willful inaction of patience and the powerful choice of perseverance she says:
“I caught the thread of the narrative. My tool is a fragile, daily and humble material– the thread. I sought links between the self and the other, the present and the past, the history of art and the estuaries of today. Repeating, copying large and beloved artworks, I wanted to study, to focus on the way of art inch by inch.
The thread becomes a skein, it follows a thought- stitch, it unravels and it goes back to the beginning ”


Lachesis. Gallery 7 – Athens (2013) Α.Antonaras-Archaeologist
By delving into the archetypal prototypes, Giota Andriakaina, makes use of the thread as the basic means of her artwork. In fact, she controls this very means by taking it through all the traditional processing of taming or purifying it by either twisting it around or by dyeing it. In her eyes, the fragile and at any rate perishable, thread becomes stronger and durable when it is twisted in yarns which function as pixels to form the constituent units that work together to create the work of art.
Using iconic works of art as a starting point, the artist creates her self-portraits, by intervening on the original through the use of her own means, the thread. By using this means she manages to recreates, or even complete alter and hide the original which she ends up tampering with by adding depth to the initial topic which is always the woman. Her needlework and her yarns are sometimes submissive and other times rebellious to the point of autonomy from the safe original which has given value as it has been executed by one of the great Masters. This act of rebellion allows the artist to express her own feelings towards each portrait
By collecting material from the lives of the others, which she admits possess alternative relationships with her own life, the artist traces stories that can take on a universal character and can be narrated as part of History with a capital H. By visualizing the narratives of times gone by and distant places, the artist uses the long thread to create frameworks, stress details, create teams and groups which other blend together in monumental unison or at other times are left to become linear citations of partial scenes that create the whole.
At any rate, as the artist herself is critical towards the topic of her creation, her works of art, give rise to intense feelings which in their core refer to political experiences which are common to all and understood by all.


Interartive,Contemporary art + thought, Semptember 2014
Christina Grammatikopoulou, PhD
Art History and Art Theory
Giota Andriakaina’s “Wefts”, freed of the charge of tradition, redefine the use of the yarn.
They mix the present with the past of art history through the works of Velázquez and Whistler. In her compositions, the idea of wandering is connected to the concept of time.
Through weaving, she associatively creates myths of resistance to the current social reality.
Somewhere she notes: “If life were a thread, it would probably be strained. And if thoughts were skeins, they would definitely be colorful”.
To declare the willful inaction of patience and the powerful choice of perseverance she says:
“I caught the thread of the narrative. My tool is a fragile, daily and humble material– the thread. I sought links between the self and the other, the present and the past, the history of art and the estuaries of today. Repeating, copying large and beloved artworks, I wanted to study, to focus on the way of art inch by inch.
The thread becomes a skein, it follows a thought- stitch, it unravels and it goes back to the beginning ”