Helene Pavlopoulou

Of Farewells, Absence and Returns | 2013

Two parallel exhibitions in Thanassis Frissiras Gallery in Athens and in Pinelo Gallery in Constantinople

curated by Helene Gatsa and Louisa Karapidaki

critics

Helene Gatsa

Archaeologist-Art Historian

Helene Pavlopoulou’s presents in her paintings her mystical worlds: Imaginary worlds, dominated by a diffuse sensuality, the unconscious, dreams, a musicality of composition; all seen through the artist’s metaphysical disposition.

Earthy and golden tones; red and blue backgrounds; kaleidoscopic compositions, from which women or couples in love levitate; nature given form, birds and insects; all compose primordial rituals within the narrow confines of each canvas.

The women that inhabit them are imposing. Nude, partially clothed or with elaborate clothing; alone or in encounters with male forms; they communicate with the movements of their hands and their stance, as if transmitting singular ritual messages. They display an unbound eroticism without provocation, with naturalness and innocence. The are surrounded by an entire world of messenger birds, bringing news and messages of love; butterflies and flowers - symbols of the soul and of rebirth respectively; forms and colours that propel viewers into the depths of their subconscious and the labyrinths of the mind.

Helene Pavlopoulou’s familiar pictorial language, through the time-consuming process of a gold-hued depiction of the macrocosm in her paintings, narrates a story without words, celebrating all the senses through her paintings. The delicate touch of the paintings, the particular way in which she utilises colour, the significance she gives to details of the composition, enchant the gaze.

Her painting has individual qualities and cannot be classified into a specific style of Art Histoty. Its nature is intensely conceptual, as the artist uses mainly archetypes through which she reflects her private anguish over Life and Art as well. But what is most significant, is that Pavlopoulou approaches ecumenical and timeless themes in paintings, such as matters of life, death, love, the soul and the intellect. This is why her works are engrossing.

Louisa Karapidaki

Art Historian

The tripartite title of the exhibition concerns the emotions in the life cycle of a relationship: from the "grief" of a farewell, the echoes of presence, the sense of absence, the emotional see-sawing to the triumphal reconnections.

The artistic narrative by Pavlopoulou records on canvas the mystical elements of love affairs, emphasising the awe inspired by the soul connection, the "pain" of passion, but mainly the majesty of sexual love. Her painting incorporates, with a surfeit of sensitivity and eloquence, symbolic implications, unbearable silences, nostalgic reminiscences, back-pedalling, loneliness, as well as the joy and overwhelming power of all-encompassing sexual love. It tells the tale of a love affair, that pierces a human as a source of life and leads him to creation and felicity.

Her compositions aren’t altered by the narrative inclination, nor are they circumscribed by the emotional intensity her work projects. She utilises and transforms the most familiar objects, textiles, clothing, or elements of nature into melodious compositions in an harmonious rhythm.

In Pavlopoulou’s poetic style many expressive media are allowed: from the infinite extent of magnification of plant elements; the potential to increase the size of motifs; human bodies that are lacking limbs; elements pertaining to fertility; phallic symbols; so long as they refer to her symbolism and to the immeasurable majesty of her particular aesthetic.

Human bodies, real or imagined, hover in a test of space and time, experiencing the turbulence of intensity and the clash of boundaries. It isn’t clear whether a particular moment recorded on canvas concerns the coexistence, the parting, or the reconnecting of two people. What is emphasised is the liberation, corporeal and spiritual, of the main figures and the quality of internal communication.

Her environments are inundated by decorative motifs from various cultures and time periods, which are transubstantiated into music of the universe. Moreover, in order to activate associations for the multi-dimensional depiction of complex human relationships, of boundaries and balances, she enriches her paintings with levitating parallel universes in the form of amazing fractals. These are fragmented repetitive geometric or flower-bearing motifs, interspersed or carefully placed at key points, which provide a magical dimension to each work, as well as a latent spirituality.

At the same time, she interweaves at all points elements from nature, as games of joy, memory, spirit - referencing “the naturalness of our existence, a return to the essential, to purity, to authenticity, to romanticism”. There are flowers everywhere: microscopic, gigantic, formalised, blossoming or caged as they appear, they are present alongside flying birds and butterflies, which flutter around, depicting emotions.

Finally, in presenting the transitional elements of love affairs “of farewells, of absence and of returns”, Helene Pavlopoulou elucidates that mystical attractions are where “a spiritual paradise and a spiritual desert coexist contrapunctally” She records archetypes, stories, characteristic symbols of the soul, of music, of sexual love and many other collocations, in order to transform the dream world into a real world, where rapture and pain coexist.