Ta Nea Xysta (The New Scratches), 2021
Mural in acrylic gouache on plasterboard
This is a site-specific mural that creates a portal for the Santaroza building of the Athens Biennale 7- Eclipse. Painted by hand in metallic grey and white by the artist and three female assistants, the mural replays and responds to the traditional design work known as xysta, originating from a village on the island of Chios in Greece. This ethno-mathematical painting often resembles a textile; Khan-Dossos explains the work should be read as such, noting that at the bottom of the mural one can often find tassels and tapered edges.
The origins of this practice of painting the exterior walls of houses in this village sit between East and West. According to various origin stories, during the Genoese period of occupation, textiles were often hung from balcony windows, and the lavish designs became the inspiration for the walls. According to a different version of their beginnings, this tradition is rooted in Turkish pattern-making and decor. Khan-Dossos revives the xysta mural practice, allowing it to breathe between these insignia – adding a technological universality to the palette, and offering the viewer lines of code that are in constant dialogue with one another. You can find the Twitter bluebird insignia gliding between the geometrical fauna; a reference to the symbol of an eclipse – the theme for this Biennale, can be found in two circles shifting between each other (also used online as a transparency symbol); the eerie Covid-19 icon drifts in between, allowing us to reflect on this moment through the lens of the contemporary rhizome.
The artist is supported by Beowulf
Commissioned and produced by the Athens Biennale