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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Elena Papadimitriou - Έλενα Παπαδημητρίου

Elena Papadimitriou - Έλενα Παπαδημητρίου

1971: Born in Athens.

1989-1990: School of Graphics Arts and Design Vacalo.
1991-1996: Studied painting in the Athens School of Fine Arts, Prof. P. Tetsis and Ch. Botsoglou.
1993-1994: Facultad de Bellas Artes Universitad Politéchnica de Valencia, Spain.

Solo Exhibitions:
2008: “Déjà vu: Reflection Stories”, Astrolavos Art Gallery, Athens.
2011: “Dialogues”, Astrolavos Art Gallery, Athens.

The end of Chaos in the painting of Elena Papadimitriou

Elena Papadimitriou’s painting startles viewers, as it questions by its very nature and position all we were familiar with, to date, concerning the use of canvas: seeking alternative expressions, it settles onto alien surfaces, possessed by layers of organic motifs, which, divested of their established context as confine-bound decorations, are propelled, like frantic fragments of a kaleidoscope, into overflowing spheres of action; delineating novel worlds; gesturing to new galaxies; mapping out a terra incognita of incorporeal matter that the painter attempts to embody.

This quest for the concave and the convex in a land of endless spirals, which Papadimitriou persists in roaming; the painstaking memorising of the medieval embroidered valley of mille fleures; the dense placement of heraldic motifs that hark back to the age of Persian legends, of the Byzantine Empire and chivalry; her pictorial hoe, that likes to investigate the finds of warding Chinese dragons; her selective discourse with Gustav Klimt’s ornate gold-frosted friezes, commenced several years ago, at the time when she first installed her female figures on the surface of mirrors, while seeking a perspective on painting that was as neutral as she could possibly achieve: “When it comes down to it, I am the one who is in the mirror, sealed air-tight in relation to the outer world. This very mirror also reflects the outside reality”, the painter elucidates.

In the cut-up figures that are placed sometimes off-centre and at other times in partial refraction on the mirror, the clothing, ornate and painted in excruciating detail, engulfs the action of the form it clads, and silently mutates into a low-tone alter ego, forming, when it comes to it, separate canvases in and of itself. The human figures however, gradually lose their volume, become flat and are sublimated, vanishing into the flatness of the painting surface. And although the mirror was initially chosen by the painter due to its established neutrality, if it was utilised as a glittering and naked field for self-knowledge; or as a frozen winter lake that favours poetically suspended shapes; a passage into painting surfaces that are differently textured - it reinforces the conviction that this specific discovery was never chosen as a means to itself.

An essential challenge for Papadimitriou, this game of in and out; of I and other; of positive and negative; the impression of a space that is “full”, where the figure, almost always alone and lacking any complementary objects, almost always female (the exception is “Vertigo” suspended, where the female and the male are identified with fire and smoke respectively), continues to exist in isolation, to encounter the extrovert affectation of shapes, materials and colours with its voluntary sojourn “Inside”, with the refreshing pauses in “Breath In” and “Breath Out”, with the exercises in self-awareness that are “Emergence” and “Division”, with the pale white aura of “Illusion” and the luscious red one of “Filtering”, with the glittering lights of “Dazzling”, with the decadent shades of a dull gold mosaic in “Fall”, with the historical memory and the inevitability of destiny that run through “Déjà vue”, with the circular portraits of “The Three Graces”: Fronisi - Prudence, Armonia - Harmony, and Lethe – Oblivion, with the airy feathers of a fallen angel arriving on earth, with the metaphysical weight of “21 Grams” and the healing power of sleep.

To achieve this impression, Papadimitriou calls upon the wonderfully self-subverting dance of patterns so characteristic of her work. Patterns that, according to her, may mean nothing more important than a disparate gathering of all the small things we fear and love: coils that join emotion with logic, the present with utopia, the crux with detachment, chaos and continuity. The primeval decorative crosses, where the horizontal line symbolises the female, while the vertical symbolises the male. The terrifying dragons of fairytales, which in Chinese culture symbolise good fortune. The successive lines that lead to infinity, seeking to join the imperfect with the perfect; Klimpt's hortus conclusus wth the infinite. According to Alois Riegel, just as “defining the limits between decor and symbol is one of the hardest feats to pull off, the attempt continues to offer a fascinating field of endeavour”. According to Richard Gregory, on the other hand, “The sense organs receive patterns of energy, but we seldom see patterns; we see objects. A pattern is a relatively meaningless arrangement of marks, but objects have a host of characteristics beyond their sensory features. They have pasts and futures; they change and influence each other, and have hidden aspects which emerge under different conditions”.
Iris Criticou, Art Historian, April 2008

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