“Beyond the realm of Ego / Not me possessions”

All that I have got is what I have not”  D.W. Winnicott

In the exhibition “Beyond the realm of Ego / Not me possessions” Marianna Katsoulidi, further to her previous art units, portrays work deeply personal and experiential, which seems to complete a circle of pondering over and negotiating universal issues. Relating comes to the fore through the depiction of toys, figurines, lifeless objects, most of which belong to the artist’s personal collection. M. Katsoulidi expands and explores, within limits of the canvas, the symbolic existence of Object-Toys, their relationships among them and their further course within the fictitious scope of Fantasy. Among the two-dimensional paintings, there is an installation of a mass of toys, which she created in 2009 and as she says, she goes back to, after years, to draw inspiration for new two-dimensional pictures, which are exhibited in this exhibition.

 As if the heroes of her previous works have come of age, as if their relationships are tested, certain figures have remained, while for others this is a fare-well. New relations are established among the figures that characterize her work and are coated gradually with an environment that differentiates from her previous works. The pictures are embellished with the Objects, the toys, the figurines establishing multiple relations among them. Even, the Eternal, this No –Land that characterized her previous works, seems to be structured with elements which create a wrapping inside which countless interactions of the Objects occur.

  “I seek the face I had had before the world was created” W.B.Yeats.                                                                                           

The artist consciously selects to artistically invest in specific figures, while the others are more abstractive, as if half-finished. Some figures have clear features while others look insubstantial, corroded by memory, still waiting to be completed by the viewer who could establish their final characteristics, leaning on them, reflecting themselves.

The objects that dominate the artist’s work bear symbolisms and statements to such a degree that they are prisoners of their cultural scope.

Nevertheless, there is an inconsistency. On the one hand, they bear solid meanings (the dresses, the costumes, the uniforms). On the other hand, the way the faces and the expressions are depicted by the artist liberates them from any emotional burden. Their vague expressions impart an odd sense and they look immaterial. So, the viewers themselves are asked to color the Objects according to their emotions and experiences, thus projecting all the aspects of their inner selves.

The unpredictable element of the game, is due to the fact that it is always on the hypothetical line between Subjective and Objective perception” W. D. Winnicott

From one point of view, we would say that Marianna Katsoulidi reinvents the world of the past, of the symbolic toy of early childhood, inviting the viewer to fantasize illusorily the fulfillment of unfulfilled wishes through her paintings.

 The Objects release themselves from their original meaning, do not have the place of honor anymore, (everything becomes a matter of little significance).The signified distances from the signifier and dominates it. The artists herself as well as the viewers are able to build a “mythical Ego”, projected in the dominion of her work.

 The choice of the title of the exhibition has clear reference points to the psychoanalytic method of W.D. Winnicott of transitional objects and phenomena. With the phrase “not me possessions” the basic but essential awareness of an object is expressed by the infant. This object is noticed for the first time as something different from itself.

Right there, in a transitional area between “inside” or “outside”, “Self” and the “Other” – all this is experienced as unfamiliar, strange, unknown- lies the beginning of a rather emotional relationship with the Object. It is the child’s first possession but at the same time no possession.

So, there is a paradox in this area of illusion of the intermediary experience between Self and Object which lies “beyond the realm of Ego”. The Self creates the object in the imagination, because it is needed, but the Object was there waiting to be used by the Subject. This inevitably leads the Object out of the area of the all-powerful control of the Subject, towards its recognition as an independent and autonomous entity.

Marianna Katsoulidi creates a microcosm in her works, starting with real objects charged with traces of childhood memories and the innocence of the past, shapes basically childish and youthful, lifeless objects that imitate the living, objects that breathe a sense of fragility and delicacy like their china counter-parts, thus creating a retro atmosphere that breathes nostalgia.

Objects from the past pose on the canvas, as if they are in a state of emotional pending, like a narrative inviting the viewer to emotionally invest in these objects. Looking at them one wonders what is happening, emotionally, to these objects, what is transpiring, what had happened before they became part of the works as a static depiction and what follows.

In the artist’s works, the objects look as if they have a life of their own, as if they belong to the world of otherness, of strangeness; yet, they seem as if they desire meeting the Other, as if they expect to be re-invented through the viewer’s day-dreaming. They seem to abandon their usable origin and through a mental shift they find their place in the sphere of symbolism. Quoting M.Milner’s words, “There is an eternal transformation of the object, which, at the same time, remains the same.”

M. Katsoulidi’s works are based on the sphere of transitional phenomena as an act of creation and concept. The heroes in her works already existed but they have been discovered by herself who now is inviting the viewer to meet them and invest in them, in a place where the objective meets reality in the borderline between Inside and Outside the Self and the Other, there, where the relationship is embodied and takes shape.

 Isavella Kladaki

  Art Theorist



Marianna Katsoulidi was born in Athens in 1979.

In 2005, she graduated from the Athens School of Fine Arts, department of Visual Arts, in the field of Painting. She graduated with honors.

Under the tutelage of Triantafyllos Patraskidis, she took courses in Set Design, Engraving and Art Teaching in Secondary Education. She was conferred the qualification Integrated Master in Visual Arts.

In 2008 she graduated from the 2-year postgraduate program of Fine Arts at the Athens School of Fine Arts, with professor Tassos Christakis.

She is a final-year student and a trainee Art Psychotherapist in a 4-year Postgraduate program in Art Psychotherapy at the Art and Psychotherapy Center. The degree is recognized as a certificate of specialization in Art Psychotherapy by the European Association of Psychotherapy (EAP).

From 2005 to 2009 she collaborated with the Adult Education Center, the Cultural Center of the Municipality of Ilioupolis, as well as the Vellios School of Art Lifelong Learning Center as a teacher of drawing, color, design, painting and engraving.

From 2003 to 3007 she engaged in articles of clothing (painting on clothes and accessories). This work was displayed in the magazines VIMADONNA (30-03-2003), COSMOPOLITAN (10-2003), on NET TV in the talk shows “10-2” with Rika Vayanni and Popi Tsapanidou (07-0-2003) “Pandemonium” and on South Greek Television NET “In Faces” with Rebecca Sgourea (15-06-2004).

Since 2006 she has been collaborating with the company Summit Team Building and Training as an art consultant in various creative team projects.
She has held 7 solo exhibitions so far and she has participated in more than 50 group exhibitions. Her works can be found in the Collection of Frissiras Museum, the Moschandreou Collection, the Luciano Benetton Collection and many private collections in Greece and abroad.

Some of her paintings were used as covers for novels and poem collections. She has illustrated the fairy tale “When daisies were either white or yellow” by Gabriella Psilopoulou-Ieronimidou which was published in December 2019 by Aparsis Editions.

Her painting is depictive, symbolic, with emphasis on design. The subject – matter is anthropocentric with elements from toys, myths and fairy tales.

She lives and works in Athens.


Solo shows

03/2020 “Beyond the realm of Ego / Not me possessions” Painting - Installation, PERITECHNON Gallery

10/2015 “Animus – Anima(l)”, Painting, PERITECHNON Gallery

10/2013 “Innocence – Restart”, Painting, PERITECHNON Gallery

12/2011 “Fairytale – Colour”, Painting, RIFIFI, Curator: Hera Papapostolou

10/2011 “Human Toys”, Painting, Melanithros Art Space

10/2007 “BITTER END”, Painting, Gallery Mary Alexiou – Athens Art Space

02/2006 “Tentative Hikes”, Painting, Egokeros Art Space


Selected group shows

01/2020 “La politica della Grecia”, Art Prisma Gallery, Curator: Luisa Karapidaki

01/2020 “At the Studio”, Hellenic American Union, Curators: Hera Papapostolou – Manos Spanos

05/2019 “The Tower of Babel” Platforms Project 2019, Athens School of Fine Arts, we 33 - Artia gallery

06/2018 “Linear Holy Spirit”, Bouzianis Museum

05/2018 “We 33”, Platforms project 2018, Athens school of Fine Arts, Artia Gallery

10/2017 “3d Award of European Painting” Painting exhibition, Frissiras Museum

08/2017 “Human views”, Art Gallery I&E Vati, Syros, Curator : George Aldouvas

01/2017 “My imaginary Homeland”, THE LOFT, Curator: Hera Papapostolou

10/2016 “Earth, Water, Wind, Fire – The 4 elements of Nature” Visual Arts Museum of Herakleion, Crete. Curator: Maria Chaniotaki

06/2016 “The young and the restless”, Evripides Art Gallery, Curator: Luisa Karapidaki

05/2016 ART - ATHINA, International Contemporary Art Fair of Athens. PERITECHNON Gallery

12/2015 «Elles», Painting exhibition, Frissiras Museum

11/2015 “Three generations of Greek Painting – Engraving”, Moschandreou Collection, Municipal Art Gallery of Athens

09/2015 “Memory and Dream”, 6th Beijing International Art Biennale, Beijing, China

08/2015 “Sea of Kythera”, Follow Your Art Gallery, Kapsali, Kythera, Curator: Hera Papapostolou

06/2015 “Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space” (PQ 2015), Team LSA- Project “Ornithes”, Aristophanes, Greek Centre of International Theatre Institute

03/2015 “Greek Contemporary Art 1”, Melenia Art Gallery, Bucharest

11/2014 “Women painting Women”, THE LOFT, Curator: Hera Papapostolou

10/2014 “Resistance Now” Contemporary visual creation show VISUAL ARTS AND RESISTANCE, Pan – Hellenic show of the members of the Chamber of Fine Arts of Greece, Municipal Art Gallery of Athens

05/2014 ART ATHINA, International Contemporary Art Fair of Athens, Gallery PERITECHNON

02/2014 “Enchantment-Disenchantment”, Hellenic-American Union, Curator: Hera Papapostolou

03/2012 Colour in “Motherland of times” 24 painters – one encounter, M. Kakogiannis foundation

05/2011 “METart moves”, Nikos Kesanlis exhibition space, Athens School of Fine Arts

07/2010 “Oasis en Aoasei” (Oases in the Desert), Skironio Museum Polychronopoulos, Megara