Rania Rangou

Rangou Rania

Born in Athens, Greece in 1970, she studied Painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1989-1994) and at the School of Fine Arts in Madrid, Spain (1994-1995). For two consecutive years (1998-1999), she studied Video Art and Music & Sound Techniques at the School of Visual Arts in New York, U.S.A. Her works can be found in private and public collections, including the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art (MOMus – Museum of Contemporary Art) in Thessaloniki, the Rethimnon Centre of Contemporary Art, the Vorres Museum, Dakis Ioannou, Beltsios, Emfietzoglou, Evgenides, Kopelouzos and Frissiras Museum collections. She lives and works in Athens.


Solo Exhibitions


Oh yeah ALMA Gallery Athens


Boustrophedon a.antonopoulou.art Gallery Athens


Noble Lies TinT Gallery Thessaloniki


Antidisestablishmentarianism a.antonopoulou.art Gallery Athens


Same Word But Different Meaning TinT Gallery Thessaloniki


Delete (Declaration of Independence) TinT Gallery Thessaloniki


Zyperman Astrolavos Art Galleries Athens


BASTART® Plus TinT Gallery Thessaloniki


BASTART® Plus Astrolavos Art Galleries Athens


Bubble Attack MiArt TinT Gallery Milan


Make Up Astrolavos Art Galleries Athens


Sarah Kay’s Bachelor Party TinT Gallery Thessaloniki


Kiss My Art Astrolavos Art Galleries Athens


Public Fear Booze Art Cooperativa Athens


Painting as a Crime

A commentary on the work of Rania Rangou

Hee-hee, I thought and started to get dressed,
and life set out again to flaunt itself in front of
me through its everyday routine.

Mikhail Bulgakov, “Devilishness”

In an age (for a long time now, it’s true) when visual artists have abandoned representational painting, those who continue to serve it tend to treat representation as something established, something that never lies (never can), something like photography in the pre-Photoshop era. For them, painting belongs to an innocent world, angelically fashioned. There are plenty of them (still). Rania Rangou does not belong to this category.

Her work, though it is undoubtedly painting, distils within it all the experience of the media of the last 40 years, of art installations, of photography, of video, of cinema (of this, more anon). Rangou constructs a visual thriller in which features from reality intertwine with exercises in painting, enigmas and puzzles, in a sinister psychodelic trip. The total silence (painting doesn’t make noises, of course) seems to conceal a menacing soundtrack.

The unit of her work here is structured on the myth of Narcissus, a metaphor for the birth of (visual) art through his reflection which the narcissistic but asexual youth gazes at, thus presaging his death. Because Narcissus must not get to know, on pain of death, himself. The analogy with the artist’s journey of self-knowledge is obvious. If this allegory of representative painting as a necessary intermediary for an experience of things can be related to Rangou’s painting, it is for it to be destructured entirely. Here (in her works) any representation seems to conceal the threat of total subversion. In this way, the myth of Narcissus (it is forbidden for the gaze to look upon its image) is related to another myth, that of Medusa (the gaze conceals death). In the painting of Rania Rangou, the gaze enters upon perilous pathways.

This is work which requires careful observation by the beholder. At first sight, we see scenes from everyday life. Then we discover a series of puzzles and paradoxes. And then the climate becomes threatening … Perhaps the best equivalent of Rangou’s work comes not from painting, or even from the visual arts, but from the cinema. Strange as it may seem, Rangou’s visual thriller seems to be engaged in dialogue with the films of David Lynch. As in those, Rangou’s painting calls into question almost every probable fact. As in those, the veneer of ‘normality’, of happiness, of the family, of ‘ordinary people’ conceals the greatest dangers. As in those, you feel absolutely certain that we have some of the interesting examples of their art. How else can the painting of our times be, if not like this?


Thanassis Moutsopoulos
* From the catalogue of Rania Rangou’s exhibition “Same Word But Different Meaning”, TinT Gallery, Thessaloniki, 2008.