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Aphrodite-Theodora Andreou/ Areti Skavantzou


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Aphrodite-Theodora Andreou/ Areti Skavantzou

Gallery Soimii Patriei presents solo show of
Areti Skavantzou and Aphrodite Theodora Andreou
Urania Palace Cultural Center
Opening Reception: Friday, 18 November 2016, 18.00 - 19:00
Duration: 18 - 23 Nov, 2016
Curators: Dionisis Christofilogiannis, Mădălina Surducan
Address: Urania Palace Cultural Center, Str. Horea Nr. 4, Cluj-Napoca
Organizer: Galeria Șoimii Patriei
Hosts: Márkos Tünde, Lőrincz Gyula


A conversation with Areti Skavantzou and Dionisis Christofilogiannis, instructor and curator of Areti’s first solo exhibition in Romania at Urania Palace Cultural Center.

-Engraving is the practice of incising a design onto a hard, usually flat surface, by cutting grooves into it. How did you feel that moment in class when you realized engraving on paper using charcoal?
The texture created by scratching carefully the paper and then rubbing softly the powder of charcoal, something unprecedented, a totally new experience for me. This was what really charmed me to further work with this technique and see where it goes. So at that moment, I felt what much likely must have been Christopher Colombus' feeling when he set foot on the new land of America, an indescribable flare-up for the new world opening up in front of my eyes.

-First impression in front of your works, it is a very quiet and classical approach but then I have the feeling that maybe is an example of a post-engraving art. Do you observe this?
I feel that my paper engravings have been a discussion so far between the history of the engraving technique , since it resembles the classical use of etching in rendering the form through the accumulation of lines, but unlike engraving and printmaking, engraving occurs directly onto the medium which at the same time is the work, being paper, which adds a contemporary aspect to it.

- Who are your current art inspirations? Do you look to other contemporary artist’s work during your artistic process?
Quiet influential were and still remain the works of Richard Serra, both paintings such as Heir, 1973, and sculpture, in evoking the feeling of admiration towards the line as both a formal and conceptual element in art. I constantly keep looking for inspiration in contemporary artists works, regardless of discipline. I try not to over-focus on one artist or discipline, let us say engraving, or drawing, as I wish to find my own authentic way to artistic expression. Great artists such as Giorgio Morandi, Albrecht Durer and Jackson Pollock, but also conceptual works such as René Magritte's, The Treachery of Images (This is Not a Pipe), 1929, and Joseph Kosuth's, One and Three Chairs, 1965, are always a point of reference for me, while I am drawn to contemporary issues in feminism, conceptualism, and abstraction.

-How do you think you will continue on your themes and technique?
So far, I feel that my black and white paper engravings have been merging the historical element of the engraving technique with the contemporary element in it, mainly focusing on representation. Technically I aim at experimenting with mixed media and new techniques, in finding new ways to bring them into the paper engraving technique. Thematically, working with the paper engraving technique, I find myself guided through its repetitive movement and submerged in a meditative state where abstraction and conceptualism are intertwined. My work is starting to shift to more abstract and contemporary rendering of the form, in transfiguring the mystical and enigmatic element hidden in forms. Heinrich Heine Der Doppelganger poem, and Sigmund Freud's theory on the "Uncanny," addressing the issue of what it is like to confront with one's own image are examples of literary, psychological, and philosophical sources that affect my work.



A conversation with Aphrodite-Theodora Andreou and Dionisis Christofilogiannis, instructor and curator of Aphrodite’s first solo exhibition in Romania at Urania Palace Cultural Center.

-Aphrodite I know that your asset is color! You have a unique and “masculine” attitude as you paint especially large scale canvases. How do you feel from your transition from figurative painting to the world of Abstract Expressionism, where you avoid overt symbolism and emotional content, but instead you call attention to the materiality of the works?
I was always in love with color. I don’t believe that I have abolished my passion for symbolism but for me I have evolved it. I am going back to those primitive raw feelings. I want the viewer to feel my passion and the energy that overflows and enchants me every time that I paint, to portray that power, to get lost in the heavy pigments and dynamic forms. I recently show one of my paintings in a photograph to a friend of mine and what she told me is that she felt like wanting to touch it and feel it. This is exactly what I am heading for.

- I was happy to see recently a transition of your work towards a very broad painterly contemporary world. Do you think the residency we had in Cluj Napoca influenced your work?
Undoubtedly our recent residency has influenced my work. It was an experience that sculpted both me us a person and my way of painting. I felt like my perception expanded. It was transition point for me. Previously I was so careful and sometimes afraid to let myself experience reality. I was stuck to my own restrictions and holding myself back. It was a leap of faith for me. I realized that creation can follow of what I had previously interpreted as destruction. I remember that it was one of the last days and I was watching a self portrait that I was making and I realized it wasn’t me. Not as far as it concerned resemblance but it wasn’t what I wanted. So I took sprite and poured it all over along with the beer that I had next to me and started experimenting. I took pieces of cardboard and started using them
as spatulas, and after that I used only my hands. I was creating textures with heavy pigment and the dripping paint. What I was creating was finally something that finally was expressing my inner self in ways I have never thought of. This summer along with other personal experiences were definitive for me in so many ways.

- Who are your current art inspirations? Do you look to other contemporary artist’s work during your artistic process?
The artists that really have influenced my work is Gerard Richter as far as it concerns the treatment of the color and his gestural technique, Sam Francis and Clyford Still in the way they treat color and create their compositions and Adolf Gotilieb in his unique way of combining gestural and flat color in a very precise way. Beyond the abstract expressionists I have other influences as well. My color pallet combinations are mostly inspired by Toulouse Lautrec and traditional and folk art from all over the world. I will always be in love with Ana Mendieta’s passion and themes. As well with Damien Hirst and Cao Hui with their flesh like works are a corner stone for my works. They perfectly portray this rawness that I am in love with.

-How do you think you will continue on your themes and technique?
I feel that I have just dived in the pool of abstract expressionism and that I will continue exploring my limits. I want to experiment with different technique combinations and of course different scales. I am currently working on a 2x2,50 m piece as well with a 5x7 cm. Thematically speaking both in my paintings as well in my sculptural and digital works I am planning to go in greater depths to ritualistic meditation, rituals along the centuries, catharsis via painting, I am currently reading “Rites of Passage” by Arnold van Gepp and Carl Jung’s “Man and his Symbols” along with constant research in fertility rituals in the Ancient Greece an Neolithic Era.

Dionisis Christofilogiannis
PhD Visual Arts Instructor at the American College of Greece DEREE

Also check out other Arts Events in Cluj-Napoca, Fine Arts Events in Cluj-Napoca.

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