GEORGE MANGINIS, Academic Director, Benaki Museum

The parallel paths of word and image have often fascinated historians of both art and literature. Consequently, they have been explored in many exhibitions at the Benaki Museum as well as at similar institutions internationally; some of these exhibitions were historical is scope whereas others focused on the creative coexistence between artists of the word and artists of the brush. It is a potentially inexhaustible field that brings together two of the richest outpourings of human intellect. Anna Filini’s exhibition ‘From Cavafy’s World’ follows the painter’s long-standing relationship with the poetry of Constantine P. Cavafy, a relationship that unfolds across three distinct groups of works focusing on two themes, the poem ‘ Ithaca’ and the pantheon of historical personalities, which the solitary Alexandrian surgically examine rather than merely animated. The artist does not simply illustrate; in any case, the written words is incorporated into the visual composition and the image, in its turn, goes one or more steps beyond the conclusion of the poem, which is often left hanging. The line, the colour, the space defined by line and colour, they are all in dynamic interaction with the poetic ambiguity and symbolic strength of Cavafy’s poetry. Such symbols are systematically rendered contemporary, in parallel to the way in which the poet’s idiosyncratic demotic projected Roman emperors onto the early twentieth century, dissecting their ancient hearts using instruments made of the hardest steel. The artist in her turn manages to remain lyrical while pursing her inspired and systematic dialogue with the most celebral of poets – and for this reason alone, we are grateful.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Benaki Museum, I would like to congratulate Anna Filini and thank her for bringing to fruition this thoutful and beautiful exhibition, which calls for repeated in-depth readings.

(This text was contained in the catalogue was published on the occasion of the exhibition: “Anna Filini: From Cavafy’s world”, that took place at the Benaki Museum, 138 Pireos str., from 17/1/2019 – 16/2/2019).

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