Maria Filippakopoulos’ own personal landmarks
Text for the solo exhibition Fields in Artshot Sophia Gaitani by the art historian Louisa Karapidakis. November 2022, Athens.
Places unknown yet familiar. Soundless
landscapes emerging out of a cold silence. This is what Maria Flippakopoulos
most recent set of pictures consists of (Fields, 2020-2022).
Her loci are landscapes of both memory and fantasy. Their identities and
even their very names are not those of actual places, even though they might
allude to them through their photorealistic qualities. Most commonly, they stem
from places she has experience of, such as Elis, Arcadia, and various islands
(from the Aegean, the Ionian and the Libyan Seas). She deals not only with sea
and beach but also with briars; with both fertile plains and arid plots. Urban spaces
are also very much in evidence; these are constructed from memory and carried
to canvas as personal, idealised depictions. Human artifacts are very much in
evidence, but actual human presence is not. There are aspects of buildings that
have been put together eclectically, in the most individual of ways.
Her representations contain colours present in nature, especially those
basking in light: cold blues, warm greens, flashing yellows, together with the
more neutral tones of sand. These serve to bring out the eclecticism of her
imagery, while bestowing a transcendent dimension to her compositions. In her
own words: “I employ old-fashioned materials in my paintings, namely oil on
canvas, in order to compose what, I hope, are contemporary images. Oil is a
material which takes time to dry; it is alive and unsettled for days, and this
allows me to intervene again and again. I avoid thick colours or pastes, but I
do employ layering of colour. Layers are added until the colour attains the
qualities I demand of it. Spreading colour over the canvas repeatedly is, for
me, a meditative process”.
After the first feelings of surprise, the visitor is led by an ingenious
combination of colour and topic to track the relation between the natural and
the depicted sign. Again, in her own words: “My aim is for the viewer to be
able to fashion his or her own narratives, to discover his or her own personal
There is an austerity in her visual modes of expression, but this is
tempered by the unpretentious beauty of the places. Her unadorned lines accord
with the rules of perspective and the natural proportions of volume. This only
serves to transform the representations of Maria Flippakopoulos into poetical
imagery, dispensing with photographic naturalism.
The formulations of her vision are highly personal and dislocated from
time: “I aim to create images that are open to interpretation as regards time,
space and the notions that accompany them”. Her Fields exude a unique kind of
lyricism and contain vivid narratives. Thus, they encapsulate her ongoing
striving for a visual simplicity that is stylised, post-modern yet also
Louiza Karapidakis, art historian