CM: In 1985 Tina Kambani with Pierre Alechinsky and his studio had visited in Marseille an exhibition about the Surrealist movement in art. She was impressed by the photographs of Man Ray and especially a portrait of Benjamin Péret (1899-1959), the French Surrealist poet. Later, in 1990-1991, the works of Surrealists inspired Kambani to create works that paid homage to these artsists. In painting the portrait of Péret, she sought to bring out the mystery in his gaze and the inner power and the perseverance of his extistence.
Benjamin Péret was an important poet and editor of the journal 'La Révolution Surréaliste'. His rebelliou life (he fought in the Spanish Civil War, met Trotsky in Mexico City, and arrested in France for subversion) and his work influenced and inspired great thinkers such as Octavio Paz and André Breton.
The art of Kambani is indelibly influenced by the movements of Abstract Expressionism and CoBrA (from the initials of cities members: 'Co' of Copenhagen; 'Br' of Brussels; and 'A' of Amsterdam), for their quality of direct and unadorned expression that characterizes them. The so-called 'Brutal Art' appeals to her, for being somewhere in-between 'inversion' and 'innocence'. On the one hand Abstract Expressionism has a bodily dimension, and in this Kambani is privileged by her past, having been a champion in water-skiing. Like most of Kambani's works, Benjamin Péret was executed on the floor with very fluid color, and resulted in endless layers of paint. Working on the floor emits a strange sense of energy of play with the colors, the brush and the mood of the artist. On the other hand, the principle of the CoBrA movement, which treats form and color as a free association, inspired Kambani to exploit the resources of her creative subconscious. Starting of with something in her mind (a photograph in this instance), depending on her feeling, the composition takes form on its own. Using 'automatism' - in keeping with the Surrealists - Kambani indulges in a visual experimentation until the moment when the hand gives the definitive solution to the riddle. In the knowledge that the measure for the success of an artwork is the feeling received by its continuous viewing, Kambani visits her work much after it has been completed to check if it continues to interest her. If the surprise remains to the beholder, then the work has achieved its aim.
[Megakles Rogakos 09/2007]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Silent Dialogues: Multimedia Portraits Throughout Time 2008 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens