The art of Lena Athanasopoulou: a commentary on the reciprocal relation between art and mass culture.
Marina Athanassiadou

Lena Athanasopoulou through her artwork discusses the following dominant question: is it possible and in what way can fine art persist in the era of mass media.

What has been the response of fine artists to the evolution of the mass media and if there is any vital social role left for fine art practice, are questions of interest to the artist. Faithfull to the concept that the role of the artist is to create artworks of aesthetic pleasure and intellectual interest Lena Athanasopoulou creatively uses contemporary materials and methods. Thus according to her theoretical position, she strongly believes that human needs remain the same through centuries. Only artistic language and the medium of expression change.

By using new media like photography, video, computer manipulation, different printing methods, Lena Athanasopoulou approaches in her artpieces the culture of mass media and deals with the ongoing information in the contemporary pluralistic world. Our culture is dominated by the mass media and not by the fine arts.

Device of various kinds have played a crucial role in the social and technological transformation. Until the advent of colour photography and printing, artists enjoyed a virtual monopoly.

Lena Athanasopoulou is an example of an artist that manifested a positive response towards popular culture. She tries to reach and communicate with the audience by using familiar, every day iconography from the mass media. In order to produce her artworks she uses details from the press (magazines, newspapers) and incorporates them into a single composition. Thus she creates new forms and new images that narrate stories.

It is often maintained that analysis of art destroys its mystery, nevertheless it is crucial to focus on the compositions that the artist produces and try to locate the symbols that she successfully uses in order to communicate with the viewer.

With the artwork Metamorphosis (transformation) the artist brings in frontal juxtaposition the present to the future and questions the way we interpret the present.

With intense spirit of allegory and parabola the artworks are collages from cut images of human bodies that make up new compositions which unfold stories and arise questions, that speak directly to the viewer. The gloomy present reality, the relationships between men and women, our relation to time, the interpretation of political incidents and their analysis by the mass media, are amongst subjects that preoccupy the artist. The abstract urban landscapes she creates stay still and wait for the the viewer’s reaction. Solutions and answers are not provided. Besides, art does not provide answers, it just builds up the way to create a fruitful dialogue.

Marina Athanassiadou

Art historian - Museologist

Athens, April 2015

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