PERFORMANCES

A little on Eleni Theofilaktou’s Stories

Eleni Theofilaktou travels a lot. Wherever she is, she sends me post cards with disparate designs, and images which are magical, decorated with stars and sprinkled with glitter galore! As I gaze at them, I have the feeling that it is not Eleni who travels the world, but it is Eleni’s world that roams from place to place, selecting many useful as well as useless bits of information from a “cosmopolitan carnival of morals, customs and deities.”Indeed, I would say that these cards, which resemble the microscopic mapping of a flamboyant , motley, illusory culture, makes me think that Eleni has already compiled enough material, and at any moment, is about to create something new.

I can ,therefore, say that, as always, there is exceptional innovativeness and spirit, and in her last work she develops a rich stock of cultural as well as personal experiences with which she creates a visual narrative that is not only seditious but also enchanting. Collage on paper, pencil, oil pastels,and especially glitter, are the materials she mainly uses to narrate stories and events that shift subtly between fantasy and daily reality. This insular world of daily friction and the glorification of the insignificant, is narrated by Eleni humorously, satirically but also with tenderness. As far as I am concerned, it is as if sheexorcises the inane and bad taste rather than fight them. Besides, initiator and initiate in these rituals of daily exorcisms is none other than herself. Eleni, not only knows how to control but also to skilfully “play”with the vulnerable “ego”of the narcissist-artiste , and this is
why she does not hesitate to continually expose herself to impressive, fateful or hilarious transformations of herself; Eleni as a happy teacher, as a renaissance figure (in a portrait where she competes with Cindy Sherman), Eleni having substituted Francoise Gilot ,accepts the tender care of an anonymous gentleman who claims to be Pablo Picasso!

I believe that Eleni’s latest work is also her most mature. As for the glitter, my opinion is that one must take it seriously. When I had seen this material in Andy Warhole’s work, I thought it was the ongoing speculation of light which was adapted to the period of society of abundance and consumption. When I saw it in Eleni Theofilaktou’s work and her small post cards, I just liked it. As simple as that.

Niki Loizidi

Athens, December, 2007