11 June 2014

Tales of Maki Horanai

The works of Maki Horanai look as if they were illustrations from medieval or byzantine manuscripts. The linear shape and serious expressions of her figures render them highly spiritual, while the golden background further intensifies their transcendence. A typical example is Moments of connection with the universe (2010), where the figure is an angel in jester clothes sitting on a stool made of clouds on top of a carpet that looks like the sky. The angel may appear pensive and aloof, but by holding the Earth from a thread the artist wants to place our world within the broader cosmos and connect us with the universe.  Myth of the star castle (2011) is another work heavily related to medieval storytelling, as well as Poems in a tree (2013), where the figures are placed inside a tree trunk and on a red background that was used for royal manuscripts in the Middle Ages.

Nevertheless, the imagery of Maki Horanai has influences from both western and oriental traditions, which are combined to create tales that ask us to take a leap of faith, like in her respective 2010 painting, and redefine our relationship with nature and the universe.

Annita Apostolaki is an art professional with an MA from Sotheby’s Institute of Art and a BA in Archaeology & History of Art. Annita is now Curatorial Assistant at the Athens Biennale and a contributing author for USEUM.