"Elli what have you done... ‘’, 2012
Lola Nikolaou Gallery, Thessaloniki, Greece
The autobio-graphical image of Ellie Chrysidou
A Self-Portrait of Ellie Chrysidou
It is not uncommon for creators to base their search for identity on experience, working largely through the subconscious, a process that frequently draws them into a re-evaluation of the accidental. For them, know-how is less important than their manière d’être: their art ceases to explore its own functions and offers itself to the service of a reality that is external to it. The painting, the drawing, the action, the installation, bears witness to the performance of an intuition, becomes the record of unknown relations between the artist, the world and the others.
These creators live and work within the framework of their own images.
Since 1997 Ellie Chrysidou has developed just such a relations with her work, her figurative idiom shaped by a personal relations with each new subject. Her works are usually linked to daily occurrences, personal or collective, giving us the impression that with the passage of time they create a kind of personal journal, attesting to a responsibility towards art that is recorded through the distance that separates the real from the individual.
Ellie pays scant heed to the reactions of the other. Striving to see in a way that is beyond the natural capability of the eye, she peruses the world with some suspicion, both with regard to photomechanical effects and with regard to the codes of representation imposed by our culture. Her pictures manifest a sort of indiscretion, a kind of confession, initially towards herself, which could never be realised outside the bounds of the visual arts.
In the end, the essence of what is represented in Ellie’s work is based on the elusive, not the obvious. Sensitive to whatever moves, to whatever is transformed in accordance with the invisible laws of the eyes, the artist lays bare her desires and the things that lie beyond reason. The search for identity obliges her to explore why things work, rather than how they work.
This is no longer an artistic rendering of what nature makes inimitable, but the acquisition of a consciousness of that which compels the artist to construct, like nature, with her own means. By exposing her doubts, her losses, relying on sense and intuition above all, Ellie records this internal process that takes shape and becomes consciousness through the medium of her chosen materials.
This sort of exploration leads her to reject any sort of structural or aesthetic formalism. Because it is clear that the real, in the field of culture, does not exist, in the same way that it has become evident that personal freedom is now endangered.
The artist herself occupies the centre of her work, seeking a unity of body and spirit, through an experience sufficiently undefined that the unknown can see the light of day and sufficiently involuntary that the image of desire can take place. Ellie requires the accidental to intervene in every aspect of visual perception, in gesture, in the material. She intimates a sort of defeat, out of which however will arise the rebirth of choice, of satisfaction, of decisions. Of course the choice of practices that ensues is definitive. Drawing attracts those who record slowly, permits verification of the intensity of each line; painting is more intense, more insistent, offering the possibility of encountering colour and the light it gives forth. Construction cannot be considered a negligible expression, since it reflects the autobiographical mode that is dictated by the material. As for performance art, it contains the moment when gesture collides with habit, letting something more of the real slide in. And those pictures that produce not signs but experiences of liberty, they astonish us, because, rejecting overbearance, they are delimited by the metaphors they suggest.
Yes, it is fair to say that Ellie touches, reveals, recognises. This inquiry into identity also embraces other lines of work, because, like the archaeologist, the artist seeks evidence of a collective or individual memory, where the need to seek its roots is manifest. In her work, Ellie underlines the novelty of a knowledge that is initially based on instinct, on self-presentation, as if wholly new on each occasion. She allows her biological and psychological ego to emerge just at the moment when they are about to engulf her. All this liberation from the traditional cultural forms was of course necessary in order to allow her to explore the quotidian and the instinctive. Another sort of awareness of work and creativity, that is, where relation with the body and use of the quotidian exist when the need to survive renders this essential.