In her live performances she paints before the audience, creating abstract landscapes that come to life through their constant movement


Martha Gogakou

The universe always finds a way

Text: Dimitra Kehagia
Martha Gogakou

She explores in depth the paths of chance and takes delight in the surprise that springs from recording and observing randomness. A similar kind of surprise is experienced by anyone who watches the videos of the audiovisual artist Martha Gogakou, where colors randomly shape magical worlds endowed with perpetual movement.

In her live performances she paints before the audience, creating abstract landscapes that come to life through their constant movement. “It is highly demanding to perform before a live audience and music – more abstract as a medium that its nature suggests – is a perfect fit to my work, which I like to refer to as visual meditation,” she points out. Her love for the microcosmos, and anything that takes place within such a small scale, led her to create a 7×7 structure and use her watercolors to record the movements of the colors that flow on the painting surface. This original technique serves as the bedrock for her experimental videos. Everything that unfolds in her works is placed within this small scale. Yet, even on such a small canvas, we can detect rivers,
mountains, planets, geographical maps, an entire universe in correspondence and resemblance with reality.

“To quote Hermes Trismegistus: ‘as above, so below’. The main condition is the same, the patterns repeat themselves both in the macrocosmos and the microcosmos. I had always been impressed by this concept and my works tend to confirm this general law in a way.” She is currently working on a live visual performance teaming up with her friend and musician Matthijs Vos, scheduled to be hosted in September 2023 abroad, possibly in London or in Amsterdam. She recently worked as a set designer in the theater play Ataktos Kosmos (Irregular World), directed by Elena Moudiri Chasiotou and staged in May 2023, in Thessaloniki, while her latest work from the trilogy Kosmogonia (Cosmogony), including works inspired from the early days of our universe, is available on her YouTube channel (Martha Gogakou).

She is fascinated by everyday people and random conversations. “People that you cross paths with and the conversations with total strangers have a great impact on me. The moments you feel compelled to talk to a stranger and you go ahead and do it, and almost every time you discover a good reason behind your impulse.” The way she sees things, all people that passed through her life played a part in the development of a different and more completed version of herself. “Each and everyone has contributed in some way. But the greatest help comes from within. When you
listen to your true voice and you are not afraid of going down the path dictated by your heart.”

She firmly believes that an artist should try to become a channel leading to the very core of expression and communication, rather than make it a purpose to follow the latest trends of contemporary art. “No person can teach us how to do that, but if we look deep inside, we may discover that precious core that is no different than the core of the universe itself.’ This inner quest demands hard work, or in her own words: “It demands that you keep trying and trying over and over again. To fall down and stand up on your feet again. How else could you declare your intentions to the universe? And how else would you prove to yourself how much you want it to happen?”.

There was no indication as to how, when or why I should follow a certain path. Seeing things more clearly now, I realize that I just let go and showed trust: the universe always finds a way.

Martha Gogakou

According to Martha Gogakou, inspiration is “that magic moment when you are meaningfully present, the moment when you take off and get rid of all glasses and blinkers, having tuned our radar towards the source. That when you tune in with the universe: you grab its pulse, you receive its signals. It may seem like a few minutes, but in reality it lasts for an eternity. We are always tuned in, but the glasses and filters are way too many to handle, blocking us the way.”

A key aspect of her work lies in letting go of any control and conscious thinking. As she stresses, when found into a state of creation an artist finds it hard to break free from the artistic ego and reconcile with the loss of creative control. “However, whenever I pull it off, another type of force, way beyond my scope of abilities, takes over. It’s a kind of magic!” she says, recalling Kandinsky, who had once said that a true work of art should have a life of its own, develop its own personality, and – as an offspring of its creator – follow an independent course in time.

Her personal journey as an artist is constantly enriched with new experiences and challenges. Α set designer, a costumier, a playwright and a screenwriter, having delved into the audiovisual arts in the digital age and the persistent study of randomness, Martha Gogakou keeps unraveling her creative thread. “And this will go on. And the more it unravels, the more I take shape, evolve and
change. I go with the flow, like the colors on the canvas, going down my own path.”

She turned to art not out of a choice, but in search of a way to comprehend the world around her, of a way to exist. Ever since a child, being restless, curious and daring she realized that there was
no other path to follow. “There was no indication as to how, when or why I should follow a certain path. Seeing things more clearly now, I realize that I just let go and showed trust: the universe always finds a way.” In addition to her activity as an artist, she is wrapping up her PhD at the Ionian University’s Department of Audio & Visual Arts on the notion of randomness in art, a topic she chose driven by her work as an artist. “Giving up on the control of my work is a conscious choice, a declaration based on my conviction that randomness does not exist, that everything is governed by universal laws. As Eagle explains, what we call randomness is due to
our ignorance of the underlying governing laws.”