Athina, could you tell us about your background? How you were introduced to the art-practices?
I was born in Corfu, a Greek island. I think the region’s visual richness, the sea, the sun and the bright and inspiring light was definitely something that influenced me a lot. I remember spending hours with my brothers, exploring different landscapes and making any kind of constructions we could. I believe that being an artist is much about exploring things, discovery and engagement. I also have to mention that my grandfather was a painter, he was specialized in frescos. And at the beginning of my career I was a painter too. Progressively, I was looking for something that could be more physical than paint, more experimental for the viewer. So, from an artwork being framed I passed to a work that is an open proposition in space.
Why neon? What does it mean for you?
I work with neon because of my interest in light, color and space. Through minimalistic spatial modifications combined with the use of light, I aim to change our gaze, our automatic perception and to produce an experience that highlights our bodily and spatial awareness. Light has a certain materiality, it can actually shape space and make us see the world from multiple perspectives.
What is the message of your art?
I think being an artist is much about proposing your personal vision of the world. I spend a lot of time observing the sunrise, the sunset, the way the light reflecting on the sea or even the fireflies at night. These moments are so powerful for me because they accentuate awareness of the moment, of the world, of me being there and experimenting a situation with an aesthetic potential. And that is also what my work is about. To question our certitudes and our automatisms in order to encourage the ephemeral sensation of the place in which we find ourselves. So, my art does not put us in front of an object but into an environment that renews our perception and strengthens our attention, an environment where I invite the beholder to simply look, observe, feel what surrounds him.
If you could describe your art in a word, how would you name it?
The act of perception is in the center of my artwork. It is about an active perception, not only intellectual but also embodied and emotional. The spectator is very important in my art. He has a place and a role to play. What does it mean being in a certain space? Are we engaged or simple viewers? How do we perceive things? How are we affected when our perceptual habits are disrupted? All these questions are central to the experiences I want to offer.
It should be mentioned that you use not only neon light but also other media in creating such as photography, sculpture, site-specific objects, etc. What does motivate you to turn to such diverse media?
By using a variety of media, I search to model a universe that erases our automatisms, forcing us to reconsider the aesthetic reception and the world around us. My work invites the spectator to think the artwork not as a sacralized object but like a space to experience.
For example, my site-specific installation Lignes d’horizon it was a way to emphasize the existing environment and to invite habitants to renew their perception of a usual place. This project is just about highlighting the aesthetic potential of an everyday place. So, the use of different types of media or even materials such as the artificial mist or mirrors, it is just a way for me to create a work that incites the viewer to a sensory experience, opening the door to the unexpected. What interests me most is to shift the spectator’s attention of the autonomous object to a sensory situation where the work is being experienced in an immediate, dynamic, sensitive and phenomenological way.
Could you share with us your current projects or planned ones? Or ones that you would like to realize in the future?
I am currently exploring the potential of holographic materials. It’s about light, color and perception once again, as you can see! So, at the moment I want to investigate how the diffracted light and the chromatic phenomena resulting from the holographic surface can create space and how it can influence our perception.