Back to the Matrix

2014 – City of Athens Cultural, Municipal Art Center Parko Eleftherias, Athens, Greece.
By Regina Argyraki
Professor at the University of Philosophy of Art

The whole of Spyridoula Politi’s opus presents a consistency in a pretense of lightheartedness – regardless of size – and in a swift commentary either with words, or with obvious references.

Νevertheless behind this first impression the artist persistently proposes and deals with some of late Modernism’s principal objectives. Specifically she deals with: a. The problem of depth without calling forth Renaissance’s Euclidean solutions. b. Deformation not as a thematic comment, but as a key visual information. c. The insertion of words or sentences not as exclusively conceptual datum, but as lettrism with a substantial structural position in synthesis.

The creator’s solutions are bold, deprived of plain bedazzlements, ingeniously conversing with the methodological tools of her artistic ancestors. Politi abolishes depth altogether refraining from Rembrandt’s faint out or Theotokopoulos’s superimposing chromatic regions. Design is the strong element that defines solid surfaces in the context of an almost disappeared container, usually white or void. A clear design, bereft of shadows, short penmanships or chiaroscuro, with exactly measured distances between lines of specific thickness, so that they define bodies, buildings, animals or motifs. It is the way that Picasso reduces design in autonomous painting in his Erotics, Minotaurs or Night Fishing.

Each and every time that Politi deforms, in reality she negates a part of design’s expected continuity replacing it with color in a way, that the narration culminates in a tonal surprise and painterly casually but crucially, reverses the linear. The extremely studied choice of color gains direct and powerful reference to the comment, just as in the case of Hymn to Botticelli. In this case actually the power of reference also transcends the fact of the abolition of most basic Renaissance’s conventions.

Finally her lettrisms constitute on the one hand a peripheral comment, yet their position, shape, percentage, brushstrokes and color elevates them to a conditio sine qua non structural element, that results even for a perceiver unaware to the language, to be able to get the visual issue posed in her works, without losses.

However, what is worth observing in Politi’s works is her obsession in the role of the container, whether it is comprised of a huge sheet, or of a laboriously stuccoed frame. This carefully selected surface functions as a matrix for producing images that lay on it undisturbed from our real three-dimensional world, and also free of the obligation of the trompe l’ oeil that the expected easel painting evangelizes. The result is an underlying yet persistent question that hooks the spectator. Not the “how do I see?” with which Modernism aims to active vision, but the “how do I form thoughts?” with which creators like Politi, inevitably connect perceptual inputs with conceptual outputs as causa ponens and donate a new dimension in the cognitive field of Neuroaesthetics. This alone is enough to classify Spyridoula Politi amongst the most important representatives of her generation.