Fragile Material”

Fragile like a child's toy, the visual universe of L. Agrafioti is born out of fragments of disparate images. The way she works on her paintings suggests that in the present era of multimedia , digital technology and animation, representational painting is not an obsolete or autistic art form, permanently dwelling on its past glories; on the contrary it is timely and in open dialogue with the present era.


Before the artist employs her paintbrushes, she uses the mouse; she processes, in front of the computer screen, photos and images from wide circulation media, from television, film, the internet. She plays around with the material, trying on different arrangements, experimenting with forms and possible interrelations; she finally transforms the processed digital files through the use of painting media exclusively. Pixels are translated into brush strokes, acrylics and watercolors, and the original images are reborn through the artist’s touch and become Painting, as if they were going back to a time of innocence, to their childhood.


A distinctive feature of this process of transcription through painting is that the original images lose their physicality and become transparent. The outlines of figures and objects become blurred and fluid. In this spectral world there is no “front” and “rear”, no “foreground” and “background “. Transparent images flow into each other, sometimes becoming immersed, sometimes emerging anew. The viewer is left to unravel the intertwined images herself, letting her sight hover between the multiple levels of the painting.


Despite the use of a realistic morphoplastic language, the painter does not hesitate to undermine the illusory nature of her painting, disrupting the space-time experience: the transparency of images simultaneously ruptures the limits of time and space; “here” and “there”, “past”, “present” and “future” interact and coexist, creating a new, magical “ultra-dimension”.


Children have a central place in her thematic spectrum. Innocent and weak, they lay within their mother’s arms, they sleep, cry or play. There is, however, no reassuring confirmation in these paintings that the children do find the safety and tenderness they seek. Through the cracks of this fragile world transpires a sense of an implicit morbid threat, hints of violence and authority. Mismatching pictures intersect in unexpected ways: a sleeping infant's head between hovering handcuffs; a plastic duck about to be sliced by a knife and a fork; a doll threateningly holding a gun against a baby.


Among these conflicting forces, the painter’s universe remains undivided. Agrafioti protects her fragile material from spectacular explosions or fragmentations, which would produce a pompous or didactic imagery. She is not interested in what is unequivocal, unambiguous, rigid. She weaves her images with a transparent thread and she leaves cracks and openings through which reality and play slip in and out, leaving for the viewer the task of guessing where the truth lies.

Olga Karamitopoulou