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Atia Pokorny, "Silent House", 2021

Atia Pokorny + Janne Reuss

CONTACT Festival of photography - 2022

REMOTE Gallery, Toronto

May 1 – May 15, 2022.

568 Richmond Street West (between Portland and Bathurst)

11 am – 6 pm, daily.

The title of this exhibition comes from the first line in Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space, a book that inspired two artists to explore personal experiences of belonging. Atia Pokorny and Janne Reuss share a similar trajectory. Both are immigrants to this country and both are also daughters of immigrants to their native countries. They met as members of Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography, and have exhibited together in the past, sharing a love of photography, poetry and philosophy.

In WHO WILL COME KNOCKING?, Atia Pokorny revisits the loss of the ancestral house, destroyed during the Greek Civil War. In the destructive fire, all the family possessions, including family photographs, vanished. Her photographs of staged images placed inside an old cabinet, and her video create an intimate narrative which suggests the tension between memory and fiction. Some 30 years after the Greek Civil War ended, when she visited the village together with her father for the first time, she took one photograph of the house's abandoned ruins. Now, many years later, inspired by readings of Gaston Bachelard's book, she has animated this house in her imagination as it was before its destruction: a place of protection, a shelter for daydreams.

“I have placed my imaginary house inside an old cabinet. Like in Bachelard’s writings, the enclosed space provides an intimate room for family history and memories. Of course, in my fictive house, the memories are a fiction, a personal mythology of the past. I use the motif of blue - blue as the colour of memory and forgetting. Blue is the face of my Yaya, my paternal grandmother, whose image I never knew. Blue are the family members I had never chance to meet; blue is the house that fell silent.“

Atia Pokorny, "Yaya," 2022