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1999, Velvet upholstered gilt wood settee
60 x 120 x 55 cm
D.Daskalopoulos Collection
Installation view from the show Doomed companions, unsubstantial shades (2022) | NEON + the Embassy of Greece in London, at the Hellenic Residence, London
Photos © Christine Constantine, Courtesy NEON

“For Michalakakos, shaving is a means of revelation. She chooses red velvet – a material that evokes theater, church, ceremony, and even more mysterious interiors of old times. She meticulously removes its silky shaft with a scalpel, to expose the intangible traces of past lives on the skin-cloth. As old furniture upholstery, the velvet skin is a place of memory that bears not the physical traces of the previous owners, but the mental imprints of their contacts. Michalakakos sees these strange objects as a metaphysical vehicle of a latent multitude of sensations and elliptical narratives, loaded with fleeting glances, intrigue, decadence and eroticism. All this she reveals, or more precisely releases, through the gestures of the body parts she shaves from their surfaces. […] The palm is a vessel of information that bears witness to the secrets of the history and fate of the body.”

Andrea Gilbert, Art Critic and Curator
[Skin, exhibition catalogue, DESTE Foundation]