CM: To a musician, 'adagio' means a slow and graceful movement. For painter Electra Tegopoulou, the 'adagio' goes beyond music to mean a way of life, which extends to her art and is transformed into a profound mood and other-worldly atmosphere. The painting of Electra is a 'visual adagio', with a multitude of origins, as much in the music of Tomaso Albinoni, as in the poetry of Constantine P. Cavafy.
When I encountered for the first time paintings by Electra in the ACG Art Collection as the College's Curator, inside of me was born the desire to acquaint myself with their author. Eventually, when I met Electra and saw her paint, my suspicion was confirmed, that her way of creating is so free and natural, as I had never seen before. She approaches painting like an extension of her 'being'. Hearing her say "with painting my hand becomes so free that it is no longer me", I recognized the archetypal essence of the painter. My deep faith in her art persuaded Electra to fulfill my wish to document by means of video the creation of a new painting.
The video recording was scheduled for night-time under artificial lighting. The video run parallel to the making of the painting; beginning at eleven at night and continuing without a break until six in the morning of the next day. Given the opportunity of this video, I experienced in all its glory what Electra said: "the moment I am against the clear canvas, to enter in it is the most difficult part of the work." At that time Electra whirls about her colors. On the one hand she does not know what to bring out, and on the other she knows that the outcome is bound to be unexpected. The emotion that guides the hand is at the beginning momentary. Then "the hand is guided by the soul, and also by something even more transcendental and inexplicable." Perhaps this 'inexplicability' results from the emotional coincidence of elements from an instinctive choreography that I experienced on her side: gestures; colors; and light.
The painting of Electra is a visual poem resonating with the words that director Stavros Stratigakos offered to accompany parts of the video. During the length of the painting's creation was heard Albinoni's Adagio for Strings and Organ, which - to Electra - "guides the soul, the mind and my hand." Artistic creation for Electra is like giving birth, an unbearable pain that lasts a little, but then turns to become life. Her paintings are 'soul-scapes', wherein are reproduced in dark colors familiar human conditions, such as agony; loneliness; and despair. Behind them however, seeps through - if one looks, it is always present - a hopeful light.
[Megakles Rogakos 12/2006]
MEGAKLES ROGAKOS; DORA ILIOPOULOU-ROGAN; MANOS STEFANIDIS Electra's Adagio 2006 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens