CM: Petros Soropanis' Salome originates in his Black Sculpture series of the period 1985-1986. Herewith Salome appears to be presenting the severed head of John. As known from the Bible, Salome had requested the decapitation of Saint John the Baptist as prize for the infamous dance she offered to Herod. Soropanis visually conveyed the scene from the close of the Biblical story in an original manner. The material of his choice is a large sheet of iron, of which he cut - as if it were paper - the silhouette of the figure he had designed. The silhouette comprises a plethoric body with feet in the form of fishbones that are not meant to touch the ground. Her two hands, horizontally stretched out, escape from the work's flatness and their palms become claws trapping inside their fingers the severed head. It was a challenge for the artist to create "a three-dimensional composition out of an insignificant quantity of flat volume". In the hands of Soropanis, the steel sheet becomes an amazing material that expresses a lively dimension. The surfaces' black color accentuates the presence of Salome, yet at the same time it erases her. The preference for black color resulted from the need to reproduce the feeling of shadow, which at the same time presents something without showing anything of it. It is worth noting that for Soropanis the fishbone - the way it is being used here - is an oxymoron pattern. On the one hand it gives the false impression of rigidity, while on the other it appears to be offensive when in actual fact it defends itself from those who wish to break it. The position that the vertical fishbone occupies refers to Salome's backbone, while the horizontal one alludes to her extraterrestrial nature; that she combines in the same body the human and the fish. Salome's hands also echo the qualities of the fishbone.
Of interest in Soropanis' Salome is the obvious way in which her natural head is actually identical to the severed head of John. Such a visual solution suggests that - given her declared wish for the decapitation of Saint John - she actually does harm to her own self. In this respect the work relates to ancient tragedy, in which the drama results from the hero's own choice. Soropanis is concerned with the externalization of an internal procedure, as attested in the relationship of evil with repentance. In the case of Salome, Soropanis' aim was to refer to the parable's sharp quality. The rough texture of the silhouette's outline and the figure's odd anatomy eloquently reference the apotropaïc character and the hideous appearance of the human subconscious.
[Megakles Rogakos 02/2007]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Silent Dialogues: Multimedia Portraits Throughout Time 2008 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens