The ancient term for the Mediterranean, Mare Nostrum (Latin ‘our sea’), refers to its connecting role as the centuries-old center of trade and cultural exchange and the meeting point of civilizations. Today due to migrations the Mediterranean has come to occupy our attention again as the border of Europe. Tzamouranis’ idea for a series of seascapes drawing on traditional marine painting came to him two years ago on a sailing trip in the Aegean, which also took him to the sites of sunken refugee boats. Last summer the artist continued his cartographic journey together with his life partner and visited further disaster sites in order to be able to reproduce this mood in his painting. His paintings show the sea that has buried its casualties.
The only clue to these dramas of human loss is in the titles of the paintings, which correspond to the coordinates of sunken ships. The representation focuses on the absence of everything human on the natural violence of the sea; he dispenses with all of the journalistic iconography of the media. The series consists of a dozen large-format pictures (oil on canvas) and several small-format sketches and pictures (oil on copper).
Dimitris Tzamouranis, born 1967 in Kalamata/Greece and living in Berlin, is taking part in Documenta 14 with one of the paintings from this series. This year’s Documenta will be in Kassel (June 10 to September 17 2017) and in the Greek capital of Athens (April 8 to July 16 2017). Tzamouranis’ work can be seen in the Fridericianum in Kassel.