ELENI THEOFILAKTOU Autoportrait 2002 [R/D] - x +

CN: TheE2003grav

MT: mixed media: graphite and acrylic on cut-out paper mounted on paper, glazed within wooden frame by Le Nid (74x70 / FR:93x87x4)

TX: signed with pencil at lower left in English <Theofilaktou>, inscribed at rear upper right in Greek <Eleni Theofilaktou '02 / (Mixed Media - "Autoportrait")>

DN: a.antonopoulou.art, Athens - 2008

CM: Eleni Theofilaktou's Autoportrait is part of a large series of works concerned with the artist's ongoing examination of self-definition - an endless research on the question of 'I' as a matter of narcissism. Theofilaktou claims "narcissism is useful - even in its most ill version - as an incentive to express any issue we have in the discourse about the 'self'". Self-portraiture then may function consciously as an attempt at reconciliation with or freedom from narcissism or unconsciously as a situation where narcissism is beyond control. The Autoportrait provides an opportunity for self-sarcasm. Theofilaktou is concerned with the issue of who we are - whether we are particular or abstract. Self-sarcasm is herewith manifest by stress - such as the shaking of the leg or the self-luminous and radiant chest.

This particular Autoportrait emerged after the show Who Is The Object? performed at Modiano Stoa in Thessaloniki, on the theme of a couple's relationship. Thus Theofilaktou presents herself assuming the role - wearing a scarf on her head, a short bodice, and lattice tights on her legs capitulating in booties - sitted with a notebook, on which she draws with a pencil the man across her masturbating. Under the influence of the scene Theofilaktou performs a role where it is not clear who in the relationship is the object and subject. The answer - which is not given - is actually determined individually by every different viewer.

The Autoportrait is executed largely with pencil. Many traces are left to reveal the cancellation of previous lines. In the Theofilaktou's mind comes something said by Picasso, that "what you call 'works' are traces of my investigation". The face is the only point of the work that is rendered in color and even painted on another piece of paper that is worn by the person like a mask. The face is a complex expressive instrument on which we focus to read its messages. Theofilaktou represents her face wearing glasses, which on the one hand enable her to see, while on the other are a means by which others may not to see her directly. On the picture's top right is a group of children, drawn sketchily to suggest memories of infantile scandals. This latter image is a critic on the childhood that we impersonate, but which by convention we hide to bring out refined.

[Megakles 06/2008]