On The Tapis | Weaves of Democracy

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Kalfayan Galleries present the solo exhibition of the Thessaloniki based artistic duo Kalos&Klio, titled ‘On the Tapis | Weaves of Democracy’.


”On the Τapis” is an idiom and a calque of the 17th century French phrase, Sur le tapis, referring to the carpet formerly used to cover the council table, around which an issue of great importance was under debate. The expression is still in use also in English and Greek (Επί Τάπητος) meaning to bring forward a significant subject, put it up for discussion and under consideration. 

The important subject brought under discussion by Kalos&Klio is Democracy, as a global ideal. The works are posing questions on current global crisis of Democracy, through the prism of human rights, freedom, equality and unity, by looking at debate issues on critical social and political themes such as oppression, immigration, freedom of movement. The series ‘On the Tapis | Weaves of Democracy’ consists of hand-woven rugs and textiles. The sheep wool rugs and cotton textiles are hand knotted on traditional looms, produced at the Rizarios Embroidery School for girls, in the traditional village of Monodendri, Zagorochoria, Greece. Tibetian yak wool rugs of larger size are produced using traditional weaving methods in Nepal at the workshops of Tufenkian Artisan Carpets. 

The series of hand-knotted rugs “On the Tapis | Weaves of Democracy” refers to the War Carpets of Afghanistan, while the hand-knotted textiles refer to the traditional Greek embroideries known as “Kalimeres” (Greek: Kalimera = Good Morning” which hang at the main entrance of the house as a gesture of a warm welcome. The source of inspiration for the artists was the study of traditional decorative patterns of carpets and textiles, the collection of online information regarding socio-political and economic issues such as the current refugee crisis, as well as research on the work of Joice and Sydney Loch. The latter settled in 1928 in ‘Pyrgos’ village of Ouranoupolis in Greece and offered substantial help to the refugees by reviving the traditional production of hand-knotted carpets.

On Kalos & Klio handmade rugs and textiles, archetypal symbols of Eastern and Western folklore art reappear transformed into symbols of contemporary culture, such as socialtograms, logos, anime or even movie characters. The Uroboros, for example, is transformed into the internet restart and recycle icon, the little bird (sparrow, canary) is transformed into the Twitter icon, Melusina into the Starbucks logo, the medieval dragons are transformed into drones, ancient theatrical masks into emojis.

The word Textus comes from Latin and literally means ‘weaving words’. In Greek the word weave has its root in ‘φαίνω’(faíno)which means‘reveal’. With their works, Kalos & Klio reveal the evils of contemporary socio-political reality. Artists weave a colorful, multi-layered and paradoxical universe, where traditional iconography meets the language of social media and the internet. With caustic and apt humor, the handmade carpets and textiles of Kalos & Klio denounce the crisis of the concept of Democracy worldwide.