LC: ACG Communications Building, Graduate School, Office #3112 of Ms. Maria Kritikou
CM: Sophia Kalogeropoulou's Laïs comes from a series of 'hetaerae' (courtesans), 'avlitridae' (musicians) and 'mimadae' (mimics). Laïs is a well-known hetaera of Greek antiquity. The hetaerae were unmarried women that offered erotic, but also spiritual services by payment. They took advantage of their charm that combined beauty with wit, and usually lived for an indeterminate period under the luxury that a rich man offered them. As known, to find oneself together with a hetaera cost a lot of money and to deserve their friendship one had to be rich. However, Laïs had given the Cynic philosopher Diogenes the liberty to befriend her whenever and for as much as he wanted, and all the rich men of Athens were crossed to see him with an hetaera, especially as he was dressed in rags and lived in dirt.
Laïs was known to be extremely beautiful and very wise. In her capacity as hetaera her experiences yielded a great personality. For this reason, Laïs became the symbol par' excellance as much of freedom as oppression. Kalogeropoulou made a portrait of Laïs that oscilates between light and dark; beauty and wisdom; joy and drama. The entire painting is characterized by an intense asymmetry, which references the typically female ambivalence between professionalism and family; reality and fantasy. Laïs is represented wearing a dress that is a cross-section between Galliano and Westwood. The artist chose to use blue to bring out the color's venous quality, and painted her eyes an unworldly green to accentuate their special capacity - to be controlled, but also to control.
[Megakles Rogakos 09/2007]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Silent Dialogues: Multimedia Portraits Throughout Time 2008 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens