Blood-soaked candy

2004 – Gallery 7, Athens, Greece
The multiple facets in the paintings of Spyridoula Politi
by Thanassis Moutsopoulos
Αrt Historian & Critic

_A flower left out.
My bones hold a stillness, the far
Fields melt my heart.
Sylvia Plath, Sheep in Fog.
Spyridoula Politi the character we come across is womanly rather than female, although almost everything we usually regard as womanly is volatile. Her style is sometimes coldly sarcastic and witty, sometimes petulant, girlish, charming and elsewhere it goes into a sinister viciousness — a Dido, a Medea or a Phaedra that cannot be clearly defined.

There are many kinds of works in the oeuvre of Spyridoula Politi, quite different between one another yet held together by an indefinable similarity and affinity. There are the ‘architectural’ subjects or, to be precise, the renderings of cities. Here Politi goes with ease from the images of a mythical city, full of memories from the Byzantine past and at a fairy-tale distance from reality, to views of the contemporary, superficially unattractive Athens. The painter abolishes perspective and highlights the outlines of the buildings as linear zones with black brush strokes. Other works are dominated by weird hybrid animal figures, usually goats, on wheels, which seem to have come out of childhood fantasies from another time.
Then there are the fairytale works, where the dominant themes are princes and princesses, flowers and pink tones, dolls, threads, sewing, stitches, tenderness and escape…

Finally, there the works with the severed heads that hover in space dripping red hues, perhaps alluding to John the Baptist or Holofernes, although neither Judith nor Salome make an appearance. Being a woman, the painter seems ready to take their place. And this Freudian climax may be a thematic sequel to the works in which Spyridoula Politi dissects in a dramatic way the much-suffering relations between the genders. In these works the anticipation (of the woman) alternates with the (common) alienation, the trauma, the loneliness… They are heart-rending, but often cold and detached. The cliché about the “female visual style” acquires its true meaning in the work of Spyridoula Politi. Comments/notes about the most mundane yet highly personal thoughts invade among the brush strokes in the form of words — especially when she ‘embroiders’ the margins of her works with such phrases as “and suddenly everything was pink” or the heartbreakingly simple, “I am very sad today. Perhaps I should go for a walk on the Acropolis.” She is right — what else can you do on such days?