Christiana Soulou (born Athens. 1961) makes drawing that investigate
the nature of being human. Rather than representing specific figures
or characters, the bodies in her work are emblematic of situations and
Soulou’ s drawn lines-though firmly and precisely rooted on the paper
support- retain a sense of expression and energy that allow forms to be at
once eluswe yet very much present.
The verbal, rather than the visual, provides a starting point for Soulou
and much of the work presented in this exhibition is an expansive
response to the words of writers including William Shakespeare, Jean
Cocteau, Heinrich von Kleist and Jorge Luis Borges. It is, however, a
wider symbolism that she draws from these texts, effects of human
states through movement and mood. In her most recent series of work,
The Book of Imaginary Beings after Jorge Luis Borges, for example,
beasts are used to further unravel what it is to be human- the animalistic
qualities that are inherent within us all.
Soulou liberates her work from the directly figurative. Using line to capture
the forces and movement which animate these forms, Soulou’s works
provide space for new association and narrative. The precision of the .
artist’s line is fundamental and her activity is investigative, diagrammatic,
at times playing with reference to anatomical studies. Her works appear
to be timeless and in their exactitude, invoke the approach of Renaissance
draughtsmen. Ultimately her work combines many languages; that of the
literary world, art history, legend, geometry, myth and magic.
I saw her work at “Baltic- museum of conteporary art” from New Castle.
Her exhibition presents multiple series of Soulou’s work, including
drawings from 1980 to 2015. A number of her earliest drawmgs frolrln the
artist’s own collection are shown in the display case in the main’gaâ€˜ery
space. Seen together these works reveal the richness of theggrtists
multifaceted enquiry into the human condition over the last years.