Let the Lion Talk - Christina Papaioannou LI.JPG

ARTWORK 2022

"Working in the context of the fragmented consciousness of post-modernism, where we experience the annihilation of complete narrative, I explore contemporary codes of representation, where traditional painting is subjected to the chaotic structure of contemporary information and digital culture.
Pixels, floral motifs, architectural structures, renaissance engravings, children's drawings and parts of my own works are used to create constantly new hybrid representations, where each snapshot can be read as an autonomous narrative, while beaing part of a larger structure.
We are at the center and the perimeter at the same time.
Synthesis gives way to fragmentation, where the different parts cannot be integrated, but can be attached to each other.

I create fragmentary and sometimes kaleidoscopic images, as an attempt to grasp and depict the flexible realities of contemporary life."

Christina Papaioannou

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Nucleus          160 x 300cm     Acrylics on aluminum     2022

TOWARDS POST-PAINTING

The integration of Digital and Painting aspects in the work
of Christina Papaioannou.  

Christina Papaioannou presents us with such a rare proposition: a kind of painting (or should I dare say ‘post-painting’?) in which the integration of Digital and Painting aspects creates a newly born form. In my opinion, the fact that the ensuing artistic product does not lean towards either of those two elements, indicates the completeness of the integration itself. 
Papaioannou’s artistic process works like a blender, grinding together scattered references to Art History (with a prominent love for Durer’s engravings), countless painting styles (the coexistence of which, has long been an insurmountable artistic taboo), various interactive procedures (such as children’s paintings made by the artist’s pupils) and, of course, Pixels, videogames and the digital world. It goes without saying that, if all those obviously contradicting elements where to coexist in a lifeless way, they could easily become a postmodern extravaganza (nothing wrong with that). Yet, this is not the case here. Surging through the interference produced by the transmission of segmented images, the final result seems to have a special balance of its own, as if it preexisted as a form in its own right.

By chance? I wouldn’t think so… 

 

Her composing methods are closely related to the 20th century collage legacy. Yet, in Christina Papaioannnou’s cocktail, the different elements (used in considerable abundance) are being dissolved. In the end, they remain fragments or scarps (detectable only by the acutest eye) of a world shattered through a process that we, as outsiders, cannot decode. I surely can’t, even though I am the one writing these words looking at the very works of the exhibition. I think the source of the enigmatic nature of Christina Papaioannou’s painting is an element of randomness - as I’m tempted to call it, although I very well know that it is not so. In reality, there’s nothing random about it since the artist is in full control of her creative means, from the start to the very end. But there is one element in this planetary collision of forms, shapes and references that does not allow, in my humble opinion, the implementation of any established aesthetic rules. Undoubtedly, the 20th century has already challenged all of them.

Yet, in my eyes, Christina Papaioannou’s painting has an eerie relation to the art of an alien civilization or, better yet, that of an Artificial Intelligence. What I just wrote may sound strange, but I honestly cannot express it in a better way. If I wasn’t acquainted with her (basically handmade) artistic procedure, I would be talking of Data Visualization in chaotic collision or an Iconic Rorschach Test invoking the viewer’s deepest fantasies or fears. The entire Art History – especially that of the non-representational art – could be conceived as a constant Rorschach Test. This psychological test presents the participant with symmetrical, but randomly created images. Most participants identify those shapes with images of their subconscious – their fears and desires. They usually imagine abstract shapes or forms but most of the times, even though these images are not the product of human intellect, they recognise human figures. This augmented role of the viewer can be applied (if it’s not already being applied) in painting, as well.
It rests upon the viewer to interpret a work of art by letting his/her imagination free. When Jackson Pollock released the Wind- bag of Aeolus, he turned the whole artistic experience into a Rorschach Test, calling upon the viewers to either aesthetically admire an abstract work of art, or try to interpret and explain it. The most recent effort of stretching this notion of randomness, was made by Damien Hirst. In my opinion, Christina Papaioannou’s painting takes the viewer’s self-psychoanalytic process to an even higher level (as gamers would put it).

Returning from Non-Matter to Matter

Today, the developments in digital applications surely present us with limitless versions of an altered reality. Nevertheless, we must also take in account the two significant philosophical shifts which have recently occurred: the fact that the importance of photography as a form of documentation has long been exhausted, while the high image analysis produced by new generation computers and new editing programs has eradicated the magic of the undefinable which has haunted the earlier material.
On the contrary, the ambiguity of unfocused printing, television interference or pixels across a witness’ face can intensify the mystery as much as the connection of the unseen dots, thus promoting the viewer’s role. It reminds us of a thriller movie, where the unseen is often more frightening than what we see. I’m referring to the traits which marked, above all other things, the evolution of modernism and abstraction. What is important here, is not what you see, but what you think you are seeing. The final goal is the challenge of narration or a challenging narration. I feel that Papaioannou's work offers a significant new path to the adventures of painting, as it enters the digital era. At the beginning of this piece, I wondered if it’s a kind of post-Painting.
I am still wondering…  

Thanassis Moutsopoulos, Art historian

April 2022

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Some remarks on illogical form
140 x 140cm
Acrylics, colored pencils and spray paint on canvas
2022

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Painting 3.0
130 x 105cm
Acrylics, oil pastels, colored pencils and spray paint on canvas
2022

Painting 3.0 - Christina Papaioannou 130 x 105cm copy.jpg

Painting 3.0
130 x 105cm
Acrylics, oil pastels, colored pencils and spray paint on canvas
2022

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Let the Lion talk
120 x 120cm
Acrylics, colored pencils and spray paint on canvas
2022

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Pink copy.jpg

Red is higher than green
140 x 140cm
Acrylics, oil pastels, colored pencils and spray paint on canvas
2022

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Must watch
140 x 140cm
Acrylics on canvas.
2022

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The Game
140 x 140cm
Acrylics, colored pencils and spray paint on canvas.
2022

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Tetra
40 x 40cm
Acrylics and spray paint on canvas.
2022

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Drop
40 x 40cm
Acrylics and spray paint on canvas.
2022

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Superelic Trilogy III
90 x 90cm
Acrylics, graphite and solid marker on canvas.
2022

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Superelic Trilogy II
90 x 90cm
Acrylics, graphite, oil pastels and solid marker on canvas.
2022

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Superelic Trilogy I
90 x 90cm
Acrylics, graphite, colored pencils, solid marker and spray paint on canvas.
2022

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Morning - Christina Papaioannou copy.jpg

Morning 
45 x 45cm
Acrylics on canvas.
2022

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Evening
45 x 45cm
Acrylics on canvas.
2022

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Night
45 x 45cm
Acrylics on canvas.
2022

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Minting
80 x 80cm
Acrylics and graphite on canvas.
2022

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Context
50 x 50cm
Acrylics and colored pencils on canvas.
2022

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Breakdown
50 x 50cm
Acrylics and colored pencils on canvas.
2022

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Land[e]scape I
30 x 30cm
Acrylics on canvas.
2022

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Land[e]scape II
30 x 30cm
Acrylics and colored pencils on canvas.
2022

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Land[e]scape III
30 x 30cm
Acrylics on canvas.
2022

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Land[e]scape IV
30 x 30cm
Acrylics and colored pencils on canvas.
2022