Eleni Philippopoulou

Interview: Maro Voulgari | Photo: Dimitris Vranas

I work with the gesture and the somewhat random element, but ultimately it is me that directs it

An invitation to the house of some friends, a piece of land on sale next to it, her love for sailing, her own house at Santa Maria, her 25 year old relation with the island. Eleni Philippopoulou paints idiosyncratically and admits that Paros always “slips into” her palette.

Do you paint on the island?
Paros offers me the material. It influences my palette. I like the colours. I like its roughness. I keep notes and small sketches which later result in complete works.  It gives me the incentive to make things in the workshop.  My latest exhibition at Fotis Art Café was dedicated to Paros. I had said: “the sea will be both inside and outside” the place.

The blue colour characterizes you. You have your own blue.
In blue, I have my light and dark contrasts. Chiaroscuro belongs to my blue. I don’t work with the black that much. I use the blue to darken a painting but I also use blue to give optimism. In my winter exhibition which I called “landscapes of the mind and the soul”, it was the blue colour which gave both the tone of melancholy and the bright side of life.

Is your work idiosyncratic or more technical?
I am an expressionist. I work with the gesture and the somewhat “random”.
I’d rather say that it is a cerebral work which finds its expression after it has matured in me. I work in a gestural way on paper and on it I also direct the colour a bit. There, the random element also finds its place but ultimately it is me that directs it.

Do we find you in a period that something begins? Something has ended?
Exactly. This period with the landscapes of the soul is over. This is also true of the series I had created exclusively for the Paros exhibitions. Now I begin with something new which I still work out in drawings. Inevitably, new colours more light ones will emerge. What is certain is that nature will again play a significant role and that it will be something of an exit from the dark palette. I’d call it After Dark…

How much the Cyclades have influenced your identity as an artist?
The Cyclades have always been inside me. Not only the sea. The mountains as well have something special. I find the harsh and frugal landscape fascinating. The sea also registers in me, in its rough winter way, not in the sweet way we usually see it. I like this Doric aspect of the island. Its economy suits me; there is no rambling…

What would you like to see in the island’s cultural life?
It would be nice if we could have art lessons and seminars even for children. I’d also like to see the public places, cafes and restaurants, borrow some art works and operate as open galleries. Something like a visual art walk.

Summer 2017