Interview: Katerina Panagiotopoulou
Luca Curci talks with Katerina Panagiotopoulou during THE BODY LANGUAGE 2019 at Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi.
Exploring the human emotions and the dark side of the human mind, I blend fact and fiction to create images of short photo stories, uncovering hidden truths, breaking down stereotypes and constructing mythologies. With a particular focus on fine art, and often experimental and early photographic processes, I scrutinise the medium throughout the process until the final presentation and installation. My work is primarily project based, focusing on the philosophical and physical burdens of human nature. I was born in Athens, Greece and I live in London, UK. After the completion of my studies in Art and Design with distinction from Kensington and Chelsea College, I completed my BA in Photography with First Class Honours from the University of Westminster, London, UK. I have participated in numerous group exhibitions in the USA, UK, Italy, France, Switzerland, South Korea and Greece.
Luca Curci – Which subject are you working on?
Katerina Panagiotopoulou – As a visual artist I work on both video and photography focusing on anthropocentric subjects both on the bright and dark side of human nature. Exploring the human emotions and the dark side of the human mind, I blend facts and fiction to create images of short photo stories, uncovering hidden truths, breaking down stereotypes and constructing myths. With a particular focus on fine art, and often experimental and early photographic processes, I scrutinise the medium throughout the process until the final presentation and installation. My work is primarily project based, focusing on the philosophical and physical burdens of human nature.
LC – What are you currently working on?
KP – I am currently working on a previous project – “Feel” – following a different approach. “Feel” is a personal exploration and research of my esoteric feelings evoked by the powerful source music is. I currently continue this work, with the main subject now being other people close to me and volunteers who want to unconsciously experience a stream of emotions while listening to music. Through their captured emotions they can see a part of themselves that they have never seen before so in a way is a discovery of new things in themselves. Moreover, I’m also starting work on a new project about the connection or lack of association between personal identity and illusion. The qualities, sets of beliefs, personality traits, and/or expressions that constitute our identity are not enough to support the idea or the perception we normally have for ourselves. No matter how deeply we examine ourselves, we never observe anything beyond a series of temporary feelings and sensations. We cannot observe ourselves in a unified way, we can only observe what we are experiencing at a specific moment in time. If this is the case, personal identity is a subjective opinion of ourselves while we live in a constant flow. So, investigating if what we think about ourselves is perhaps an illusion?
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
KP – I’ve always thought that finding the best technical way to express my concept is quite challenging. I strongly believe that being a master in some practise sets your creativity free, awakens a power that lies within you and awaits to be released. Finding the best way to present my concept, and keep the balance between my technical skills and the different practises needed on a project is a result of intense and deep contemplation.
LC – What is your creative process like?
KP – I always find inspiration from concepts and facts that firstly trouble me as a person, as an artist. My extensive research each time includes studies based on philosophy, history, science, art, and everything is related to the concept I’m occupied with. Through this process I try to find answers to my questions, and to be honest quite often I end up having even more questions. After the initial discovery stage, I’m trying to make the connection between my subjects and what I would like to express through my work. I let myself sink into the concept and all the gathered information and I seem to find my way out through a labyrinth or stream of emotions and thoughts. I do like to experiment with the medium – both camera and video – considering the best approach for the project each time. And of course no creative process comes without feelings of self doubt and questioning. I find myself empty for a while. As much as I detest this stage, I can only think of it as a result of letting my mind, heart and soul to immerse into this experience, something I’m always willing to repeat over and over again.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
KP – My artworks are based on anthropocentric subjects. The overall perspective, vision or attitude towards life and the purpose of it. The actions or reactions of human beings are the constant source of my wonder and inspiration both as a person and artist. Exploring the dark side of human nature, either on a philosophical level or by capturing it, is a way for me to find answers or even change the suffering in this world. Although it is easier to avoid dealing with the negativity and the darker aspects of ourselves and the world we live in, we need to bring them up to the surface, and confront them. The emotional release, the catharsis I experience through my art and the creative process purifies my soul and I do hope there is an interaction between my work and the audience.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of preexisting works?
KP – My artwork “Feel” was my major project for the completion of my BA degree in the University of Westminster, where I graduated from with honours. I presented this work at the Free Range Festival which is the UK’s largest yearly graduate art show. Subsequently, I had my first experience exhibiting my artwork abroad, in fact I presented “Feel” with Itsliquid Group as part of the Venice International Art Fair. My artwork since then has been exhibited in many art fairs and galleries around the world, and is also part of the permanent Art Museum Yukyung Art Museum, in Geoje, South Korea.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
KP – It’s a great opportunity for new and emerging artists to be a part of a show in a city such as Venice during the busiest time of the year, the Venice Carnival. My work was previously seen by a large audience which gave me the opportunity to receive offers to participate in other exhibitions and fairs around the world. The theme of the festival is ingenious – and this can be interpreted both literally and metaphorically – and the artists have a great degree of freedom to express their creativity.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
KP – I would definitely suggest a collaboration for both emerging and established artists of any medium. I have been very happy with all your services, professionalism and creative vision.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
KP – I had great cooperation with Giulia Tassi. Giulia was always there to provide information, help and patiently answer any queries I had. Definitely a positive collaboration and experience.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
KP – My past experience has been more than pleasant, but also the fact that the Itsliquid Group is reaching out to artists and the creative community during these challenging times is very refreshing.