Konstantinos Papachristou, Still Time

Text for the solo exhibition Still Time in Kourd Gallery, Athens, 2016 by the art historian  and Benaki Museum curator Konstantinos Papachristou

Maria Filippakopoulous’ latest work is very much part of a continuum from her previous work. There is greater maturity here, whether in the lesser extent of human presences, the milder gradations of colour, or the employment of a more selective range of colours, with all of them serving to bring out her own, highly distinctive style.

Still Time, the title of the exhibition, seems to hearken to Still Life, as in the depiction of inanimate subjects. While Filippakopoulou does not do traditional still lifes, her works do depict instances of frozen time and perfect motionlessness. Her experience in drama and photography aid her in setting up a series of broad snapshots, which address both emotion and memory.

Space for Maria Filippakopoulou is about more than the representation of landscape. For her, space does not only enhance viewing pleasure, but also serves to awaken emotion. In her most recent works, while there is a vague touch of sadness, the viewer is free to feel both familiar and new sentiments, depending on his or her own feelings. While space addresses emotion, time aims to activate memory. As with space, a frozen image of real time awakens comparable moments for the viewer, while provoking questions about what happened before and what will come after.

There are a number of allusions to major artists, such as David Hockney (with the swimming pools, which hint at his trademark works of the 1960s), or Edward Hopper (the dramatic layout). Yet these are no mere repetitive themes, but rather the outpouring of the artist’s memory, engaging the memories of the viewer. It is this communication between artist and viewer, by means of the image and with the end product of the awakening of memory and emotion that determines these paintings.