Maria Lalou’s work is focusing on the topic of view by large scale installations and performances, incorporating cinematic apparatus and surveillance as part of her tools. She names her works as extensions of architecture. What comes as a consequential continuation of her process is investigating narrative structures from the point of extended cinema, the time-based moment of her installations. Her work is a constant questioning of the relations between perception, space, material - object and an observing subject, with a central focus to the political of the viewer. Each of her works formulates a precise frame often in the form of a distilled, almost lab-like setting. Through the creation of spatial structures she develops conditions where the audience becomes aware of their own production of narrative in order to reflect upon and take an active thought.
The engagement of the viewer as a performer over the act of looking, is part of her sketching process of each sculptural and filmic environment. In these situations, the viewers are invited to literally spend time and place an effort to look, think and ‘articulate’ further their next step. Those lab looking settings are both the work and personal position; to script the visitors’ initial trajectory in the settings, looking at them as active thinkers responsible for their view. Along with her research on perception Maria Lalou is focusing at her own performance in the works as an operator, a role that has been significant in her works. Yet she is always present in the work, her continuous research on the relation of ‘the viewer’ and ‘the vision’, lately named ‘seer and the seen’ is what drives her decision to give a responsibility of ‘the vision’ to the one who is watching.
Lalou holds a BSc in Product Design and Architecture in Technical Institute of Athens and BFA in Fine Arts form the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. She was a granty of a research period in Copenhagen in the Royal Academy of the Arts (former Denmarks Designskole) and followed and intense research in ‘theatre’ at the DasArts in Amsterdam. She has been in collaboration with institutions as Roehampton Univesity in London as a contributor on activate post academic journal and in MIT Press Leonardo Journal in Massachusetts. She has been an invited lecturer at Rijksacademie Studios and the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and at IUAV of Venice. She is the creator of the work [UN]FINISHED together with the Danish architect Skafte Aymo-Boot, an on going research since 2012. She has received grants and awards from Danish Arts Foundation, J.F Costopoulos Foundation, the AmsterdamsFondsvoordeKunst and IKY(State Greek Foundation). Her latest solo show a spect along with book publication[theatro] took place at Onomatopee-Eindhoven(2015). Her collaborative project UN]FINISHED in Athens was shown in solo with the exhibition ‘ARTEFACT’ in Green Park Athens (2016) and performed in Cittadellarte Fondazione Pistoletto in Bella-Italy(2016). Her works have been presented amongst others at Motto-Berlin(2015), San Seriffe-Amsterdam(2015), at MoMart-Amsterdam (2015), in ReMap 4-Athens (2013), Arti et Amicitiae-Amsterdam in FLAM (2012), at OutLINE Gallery-Amsterdam(2011), in ‘Technopolis’ Industrial Museum of Athens(2010), at Maktab Anbar with AllARTNOW in Damascus(2010), at Aikishla Gallery-Damascus(2010), Contemporary Art Museum of Thessaloniki during the 2nd Biennale of Thessaloniki(2008), Rondo Sztuki Gallery in Katowice(2008), de OudeKerk-Amsterdam(2007). Since 2004 Lalou shares her time between Amsterdam and Athens. She will be a resident in the Studio Program ISCP-New York from Autumn 2017.
In my own language (Greek): as spectator, one becomes ‘theoros’ in the sense that one observes, participates and interprets the performative process from a certain perspective while this is part of the performance’s ontology. The word ‘θέα’ in Greek is where the root of the word θεωρία-theory comes from. The word θέα [thea] means view, but also the outward look, the aspect, in which something presents itself and together with the word Οράω [horao] that means to see, to look at something carefully, to experience, to witness; and together they compose the word theory.
During my time in the US, I will take part in ISCP-New York where I will elaborate further on the topic of ‘view’ and the role of spectatorship with as starting point the 'mechanisms of the seen'. I bring along my investigations on how does the relation to the seen, in an accumulated performance, structure key parts of the narration for the perceiver and study further these terms in the perspective of art installation as a clear film script. It is a fact that I invite the viewer to take place in a spatial installation where his/her view is used as part of the work. My aim with this project is to suggest that there are various ways of creating feedback in relation to the authority of a camera. By extracting specific instrument-tools with their versatility of cameras that I have used through years on the research of ‘viewing’, their exhibition display will be used as the architecture of a staging a film.
A parallel track of my work in the studios is experiencing the stimulating environment of New York with its clear identity of a spectacle society, which is part of my main focus. Studying the topic of a spectacle in the city where we all have plenty of images projected in our memory from existing films, will become an additional tool on how to compose the conjunction of real time and cinematic time in one installation.