Interview: Sophie Kyriakopoulou
Luca Curci talks with Sophie Kyriakopoulou during the 10th Edition of CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2022, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
“My pursuit has been to render the profoundness of life experience visible. Regain a sense of permanence in fleeting moments of joy, beauty, excitement, and love. Create a keepsake and a record for me and also to communicate with others. This a message to my future self, a reminder from my past self as I try to make sense of the miracle that is life. I make my marks with an intensity of paintbrush action between stillness and movement I let traces of paint tell a story through colour and gesture. I work from memory guided by intuition and a desire to connect with something outside my own self. I focus on particular moments that for some reason stand out for me and working my way through them with my paint, I make beer sense of them. I place emphasis on feelings more than intellectual interpretation. Words are seductive in their promise to clearly articulate and convey meaning but much as I have been drawn to the idea of using writing as my medium, the painting comes easier albeit more painfully at times. Transferring emotions and experiences may be a painful but ultimately liberating process. The pain comes from the realisation that I could only ever get closer but never exactly reach a point of transferring my experience in its totality. I have to trust the imagination of the viewer to bring the divide and maybe meet me a few steps closer to where I have managed to go. That is my pursuit and my hope when I create and exhibit artwork. During recent years I have been deeply touched by the realisation that our beautiful world is filled with utterly unique and mind-blowingly complex life forms, animate and inanimate too. Human, animal, vegetal, mineral, all in a playful arrangement of intricate entangled situations, on the brink of being encountered and explored.
I often hear the call to adventure, after periods of rest and after my energies have been restored. I pick up a new scent. It guides me through the unknown. I sometimes need a push at first to gain momentum but then I get into a rhythm and everything flows. It is a process of refilling my container with images and experiences which will later be transferred through me onto the paper or canvas before jumping to someone new, a willing participant in my experience. Experiencing joy, love and fulfilment as one of the many life forms privileged to be alive in this beautiful existence that we call our world has been a constant source of inspiration and the central idea informing and guiding my creative practice for a while now. It is my deep desire and my hope that we make the best of our time in this existence, watching our dreams expand beyond the horizon of our imagination and appreciate and enjoy, with love“.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Sophie Kyriakopoulou – I think of art as a conduit, a powerful way of creating communication and exchange of ideas on matters that touch the core of what humans have universally been concerned about. Underneath surface differentiations, there is love, death, hope, curiosity, and celebration of life itself. No matter what the subject matter, meeting through art can give an opportunity to connect and begin to understand each other in a more profound and intimate way. Similarly, art can facilitate self-discovery providing the means for self-exploration and expression of a person’s individual uniqueness. Art is precious this way.
LC – What are you currently working on?
SK – I am working on a new series of paintings that are inspired by nature in terms of its interconnectedness, complexity and wonder. I wish to capture the essence of the human experience in its process of becoming aware of its link to the rest of the cosmos and articulate this through the playful fluidity of forms and colour.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
SK – I use the theme of Connection as a guide to trace steps around the notions of inclusivity, interconnectedness and human consciousness.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
SK – It is exciting, scary, uncertain, joyful and vital at the same time. Artists have the potential for access to audiences unlike at any other time in human history. At the same time, we exist on the receiving end of a lot of information and impressions from the world so it can become a lot to process. I have found it requires focus, clarity and perseverance to maintain mental, emotional and financial balance nowadays. It is not easy but it is doable, I believe in artists.
LC – Do visitors’ suggestions enrich yourself and your art?
SK – The visual arts don’t get applause, they get visitor suggestions and comments. It is the most dynamic and spontaneous way to let thoughts and ideas jump and circulate, visiting an art exhibition. You get to see an image, appreciate it at your own pace and have the chance to directly communicate it to the person standing next to you. This can be your friend, a stranger, the exhibiting artist, another artist, your dog even. I believe this is enriching both for the viewer and the artist as it allows the artwork to come alive, bouncing back content from the artist to the viewer and the other way around. It is enriching because it can allow the unpredictable to enter the scene, and potentially shake things up and that’s a good safeguard against ideas becoming too concrete and too certain of themselves.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the exhibition’s theme?
SK – The exhibition’s theme, in the Future Landscapes section draws attention to an infinite, abstract experience of geographies, through the mind, redefined as places where limits and borders have somehow been overcome. My artworks on show reference the idea of a flow state, a situation where someone gets to be totally immersed in an activity. It is an experience where all inner barriers seem to have even momentarily dropped so that actions and thoughts can move fluidly and effortlessly. It is a very enjoyable way of being. Flow state I and II was my proposition expressed as a wish for a future where we can live in a way that allows for such states to occur more easily and not as a rare sought-after experience.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
SK – These works were created using ink on paper. Ink allows for maximum fluidity so it worked well to translate the concept of flow. The abstract image created is the result of an experiment I did while exploring ways of expressing the idea of breaking away from constraints and limitations. The tracing of the lines and movement of colour happened using a wearable clay glove I created, with paint brushes attached to the fingertips. This painting device remained soft and wet engulfing my hand and eventually crumbled and collapsed during the creation of a series of works.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
SK – Yes, I think it represents an opportunity for artists who want to invest in expanding their representation beyond their home base and gain access to art hub cities such as Venice, Rome, and London. It can become a source of real aggravation when artworks start travelling abroad if someone who doesn’t know what they are doing handles the process. I have been very happy with the group’s level of professionalism and I would fully recommend it to other artists.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
SK – It was a very enjoyable experience, throughout. Communications were clear, timely and polite inspiring confidence and trust. I particularly appreciated someone checking in with the courier to request an update on the whereabouts of the artworks after the end of the exhibition. It showed an exceptional level of care and I am very thankful to the team who made everything run so smoothly.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
SK – A very well-organised event overall. I would not hesitate to recommend it to other artists and I am hoping to be able to participate again in the future. Thank you.