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Unspoken
by Giannis Bolis, Art historian

In the new chapter of her work Annita Argiroiliopoulou selects a theme which is original and unexpected, a theme which is imposing and charged by the emphatic importance she renders it and the faultless and masterly means through which she elaborates it. She paints wild animals using precise and frontal, carefully calculated, compositions achieving remarkable aesthetic results. The high and tangible realism of the depiction, the immediacy, and the quality, the refinement and simplicity of her expressive means, the imperceptible tonal gradations of the greys, the structural function of the whites, the sparse, almost faint composition of the drawing and colour elements, contribute definitively to the particular sensitive and reserved romantic mood, the assiduity to pure aesthetic values maximise the internal power of the works. The images of a wolf, a fox, a hare or a dear dominate, solitary, at first level, freed of any external reference or supplementary motif; they emerge into the ethereal, frozen atmosphere, between their physical presence and spectral reflection, remembered and ‘trapped’ in a continuous time freeze, in a world of undisturbed and eerie silence. The technical realisation enhances the evocative and dreamy, almost metaphysical, sense exuded by the works, the ambiguous and ‘magical’ intensity and evocative charge of the image. The translucent materials and multiple layers and coatings ‘blur’ the drawings, conceal and, simultaneously, reveal and highlight, create the suspicion of the third dimension, invoke a deeper communication, direct the gaze of the viewer towards the imperceptible melancholy of the accentuated eyes of the animals..


In any case, the choice of such a subject matter, iconographically and notionally, refers, directly or indirectly, both to important artworks of the European history of art – The Young Hare (1502) by Albrecht Dürer at the Albertina Museum in Vienna – and to scientific studies such as The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872) by Charles Darwin, the books of Paul Ekman or Frans de Waal, who describes the emotions they experience, “the complex emotions and social relationships of non-human primates in a very risky way”. Or even, the philosophical and scientific debates, the juxtaposition of views and evidence on the crucial question of whether animals have souls – under the prism, most often, of the views of various religions of this issue -, but also a contemporary questioning of man’s moral stance towards them.


However, beyond this type of references and connections, the staging of these works and their artistic rendition emphasize her intention to pose questions of an ontological nature, to depict her vital relationship with the world, to create paintings that refer to psychological and emotional situations, to highlight the symbolic dimension, to communicate and depict her obsessions and quests with cohesion, to rummage through the traces of her personal progression through a process of continuous maturation of the gaze.

 
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