CM: Katerina Athanasiou's OCCUPATIO originated in a dream of hers. It presents a head rendered in the classic sense of sculpture in clay, but covered by a plastic bag, whose black opaqueness does not reveal the content. As a matter of fact, the careful wrapping of the plastic membrane gives the feeling of a scarf, perhaps the result of the influence on universal aesthetic after the spirit of Islam. Thus Athanasiou's sculpture is transformed into a rifle whose barrel is shrouded in such a manner that resembles a head.
Morphologically this work associates with Man Ray's The Enigma of Isidore Ducasse. However, OCCUPATIO is a female work by conception. The way it is built relates to the manner in which women cover their faces in Islamic countries. The woman - as a female entity - never exposes her own affairs directly, but presents them with affection. The artist presents this sculpture as it actually is, namely covered; knowing that the beholder will never open it to see what exists within. Perhaps the interior sculpture is much more interesting from its wrapped version. The curiosity concerning the content remains unsatisfied.
The title OCCUPATIO in capitals creates a conundrum. It obliges the viewer to interpret a term that does not exist. It brings to mind the word 'occupation' that on the one hand declares possession (in my possession) and on the other siege (I am a possession). For the artist the OCCUPATIO is like a dark cave in which she enters to find shelter. It provides a way out from the materialistic to the semiotic nature of sculpture, with emphasis on the interpretation of signs. With semiotics Athanasiou puts the viewer in the process of yielding, codifying and exchanging significances and meanings in her work. She uses the material with an aim to question the material; in essence to disconnect the idea from its image.
OCCUPATIO is a monument to the aesthetic tragedy humanity experiences nowadays and which it reproduces out of cowardice. The wooden platform on which it stands intensifies the work's poor aesthetics, while the marble base monumentalizes it. The flowers act as an element of life in contrast with the work's inwardness. They are frankly positioned like adorning its opposite with a wreath.
[Megakles Rogakos 08/2008]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Silent Dialogues: Multimedia Portraits Throughout Time 2008 The American College of Greece, Athens