Eleni Theofilaktou

friday april 7th at 8pm
saturday april 8th at 2pm

Eleni Theofylaktou transfers her personality onto her work in such a way that is rare nowadays among artists. With a sharp sense of humour for starts, she uses this project as a platform for questions regarding identity and the human psyche as well as our own thoughts on them. Through this performance she directs and leads Danai Papa through her own universe, her own reflection of reality. Her work presents the virtually real just as Baudrillard means it, where when it comes to its representation there is no longer a question of value but a question of information. Probably this is a comment on the small cosmos of art, or maybe it is a general reference to our inhabitant. The important thing is that we are caught red-handed; we are now confronted with our two-faced and undefined nature, with our different opinions and our critical disposition. But what exactly is the artist aiming for?

Through a Fluxus viewpoint, Theofylaktou is creating a work where primarily the viewer is working with the artist, transforming the work with his/her presence. Through this stage that looks like a shop window–made out of mirrors- she redefines our relationship to ourselves. By projecting the everyday scenery of the road on which the gallery is, with a video on the wall opposite to the shop front, she comments on space and the sense of place whilst creating two ready-made, fake boundaries for two worlds, the artistic one and the “normal” one. Suddenly and almost subconsciously we wonder whether we succumb to a mild change when we enter her environment. As if we begin to loose our definition as subjects and we now turn into objects of her orchestrated world. In addition, she forces us to judge the self-righteousness of art, our own capacity and approach in relation to it.

The song at the end of the performance is above all funny, especially for a Greek audience. The artist is maybe choosing the obvious way to lead into confusion. But when re-approaching it, we see that this song -jazz music mixed with Greek traditional lyrics in the Pontian dialect sang by a Norwegian singer- represents a bipolar. A language that has no meaning for the singer, but a dialect that means a lot for those who know its hidden story (lost territories, transference, repatriation). Just like the two worlds that Theofylaktou presents. Comments from the performer and the audience that seem meaningless, but the course of the performer moving into the space, that is exceptionally symbolic. A projection that is mundane, colourless and impersonal, opposite a stage set created with the utmost detail.

The artist succeeds in very accurately painting the portrait of a very familiar bipolar: the feeling of autonomy and power in juxtaposition to the feeling of weakness and immobility, a phenomenon of our everyday life. Theofylaktou's performance-installation manages to comment on the personal and internal world as well as the microcosm of art, using as her main tools the concepts of position and transference. And always with a wicked sense of humour.

Iliana Fokianaki
Athens, February 2006