In her first solo exhibition, Katerina Chadoulou presented a selection of her work for illustrated books, which places the extraordinary and imaginary world in one single map. With its unexplored continents, colorful oceans, disguised, smiling, scary but totally alive inhabitants, its wise frogs, gracious and divine inventors, endless rivers and mountains that reach all the way to the sky. She illustrates folk stories that have been written, whispered, left incomplete and even those yet to be told.
Are they monsters? Are they fairytale creatures? Are they products of our imagination? Or are they masks, which are there to cover the stories hidden behind them? Looking at these pictures, one sees clearly their beloved, joyful and bold purpose, which is to release their heroes from the bounds of time and space. In these pictures the impossible becomes possible, and more than that; it becomes believable and real.
Chadoulou worships detail and the ceaseless, tireless transformations: these characters are in dialogue with each other, as their position, shape and color change in front of our eyes and take the place of the one next to them. The frog becomes a man, the man becomes a monster and the monster becomes love.
Pinocchio becomes wise, a craftsman and the inventor of his own savior, painfully young and painfully old at the same time. And the Alice of a thousand faces – except the ones of obedience and humbleness – knows that all Wonderlands are already here, standing right in front of our own eyes.
Text © Maria Aggelidou