On a spring-like, far-too-warm January morning, I happened upon the magic humpback snail between the pebbles of a small cove. The sea at the gulf stood still as an inland body of water, no meltemi to ripple its surface…
… begins Swiss-Greek artist Dimitra Charamandas in Cracked Shells, her freshly printed Bored Wolves zine of prose poetry fragments and ink drawings, in an audio excerpt recorded the other day in Corfu with the sustained choral backing of incalculable crickets.
Distilled and threaded together, Dimitra’s words and drawings tell of a dawn-to-dusk ramble and drift spent probing a Greek shoreline’s “little inlets,” i.e. “a collection of potential openings; a small crack, an injury; the result of discharging energy, the rupture of a previously protective shell.”
Cracked Shells establishes the presence of Dimitra sketchbooking on the threshold of sea-slapped slabbed Grecian ground seared and buckling while she meditates on punctured chelonian carapaces, humanity as emigrant panspermia cast across the cosmos, and the slackening blue hour “when even that which is carved in stone ungrips its unambiguity.”
The blue hours sound like the high, drawn-out whistles of swallows. In fact, the blue hours are not only blue. They are galazia’s light blue imbued with peachy red, apricot orange, dull yellow, sandy pink, sulphur yellow, vermilion. Venus, the first celestial body visible at dusk and the last before sunrise, alternates between evening and morning star. Other luminaries wait in the wings.
24 pages, designed and typeset by third wolf Sevinç Çalhanoğlu over the course of ten joyfully focused days earlier this month, and printed in an edition of 500 copies, Cracked Shells will be released in Switzerland this upcoming Thursday, July 27, on the final evening of Dimitra’s ongoing Little inlets exhibition of paintings at Helvetia Art Foyer in Basel. And so a zine of Dimitra’s locket-sized ink drawings and capsule prose to companion her epically immersive acrylic canvases of many of the same patches and stretches of Greece to which the zine gravitates.
At some point soon I need to write about the roots of our ongoing collaborations with Dimitra. It all began one morning in Basel two summers ago, with a downcast publisher gloomily staring at his boots, outlook then levitating to an artist’s offer of honeyed Greek pastry…