Interview: Eugenia Raskopoulos
Luca Curci talks with Eugenia Raskopoulos during THE BODY LANGUAGE 2020 at Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi and at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
The conceptual parameters of Raskopoulos’ work are concerned with identity, the fragmented body, language, translation and transcription. Her work explores the margins of photography and video, an interdisciplinary zone that synthesizes performance, writing, drawing and installation. Raskopoulos has been exhibiting for 30 years in prominent national and international exhibitions: Read your lips Australian Centre for Photography, National Artists’ Self – Portrait Prize University of Queensland Art Museum (2013).Footnotes Art Gallery of New South Wales (2012). Image Anxiety PHotoEspaña, Madrid’s International Photography and Visual Arts Festival (2012). Light Works National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2012). MUTE Art Bridge Gallery @ 798 Beijing, China – Shen Shaomin & Eugenia Raskopoulos (2011). Nightcomers Project, 10th Istanbul Biennale, Istanbul (2007). with(out) voice Photosynkyria AAS Gallery, Thessaloniki, Greece (2000). Fragments, Lunami Gallery Tokyo, Japan (1997).Sweet Dreams, Australian Perspecta 1993, A Satellite Exhibition, TheBalmoral, Homeworld, Prospect (1993). Ironworks 88, Santa Fe Center of Photography, Santa Fe, New Mexico (1988). A selection of awards received by Raskopoulos are 2006 MoMA Scholarship for The Feminist Future: Conference MoMA New York. 2004 Western Sydney’s Fellowship NSW Ministry for the Arts. 2003 The Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, Art Gallery of NSW Residency. 2000 Project Grant: New Work VACF Australia Council. 1999 Women’s Research Scheme Grant University of Western Sydney. In 2012 she won the prestigious Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Photography Award. Her work is represented in Australia’s major public galleries, as well as private and corporate collections nationally and internationally. Born 1959, Svitavy, Czech Republic Eugenia Raskopoulos immigrated with her family back to Greece at the end of 1959 and then to Sydney in 1963. She studied at Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney (1977-79), completing her Masters of Fine Art at the College of Fine Arts, The University of New South Wales, in 1993. In 2011 she completed her PhD at the College of Fine Arts, The University of New South Wales. Raskopoulos taught at the University of Western Sydney from 1988 – 2006. She currently lives and works in Sydney.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Eugenia Raskopoulos – Art is a way of life: the two go hand in hand.
LC – What are you currently working on?
ER – I am currently working on photographic and neon work exploring sexuality in language.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
ER – From looking at art, reading, and from the everyday life.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
ER – I will quote Victoria Lynn, Director of TarraWarra Museum. “The art of Raskopoulos reflects upon the institutional, societal and political frameworks that structure how the female subject is treated, and how the immigrant subject is regarded. Through the use of her own body, her actions on video and photography reassert the female immigrant body as a source of creativity. Shadow, trace, substance, liquidity and wordplay are interspersed throughout her oeuvre. She places value on stutter rather than language; on unmaking rather than making; on formless rather than form; on the abject, rather than assimilated; on the imprint rather than the whole body; on the foot rather than the hand and on the capacity of objects to be in the world as things in themselves and as objects in relation to one another. Her creativity is located in awkward, violent, anxious space of being between languages. Raskopoulos is always straying in order, not to find a point of return, but to create a thinking feeling, written, heard, open and heterogeneous body and its trace.”
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this exhibition? How is it connected to the theme of the entire festival?
ER – This work questions ideas about dual identities, about being a Greek-Australian, about the past and the present and about being unable to detach from either. The body performs by tracing a movement. It is about laying roots down and taking them up, bringing displacement into the conversation. All these ideas are connected to the hidden parts of our identity.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
ER – The theme of the festival is relevant due to the way we view the body/sexuality and how society changes.
LC – What do you think about our services?
ER – I think your services are professional.