Katerina Papazissi is an artist based in Athens, Greece. Her studio practice is rooted in painting, and meanders to three dimensions through sculpture and installation. She studied Social Psychology (BSc) and Media (MSc) in the London School of Economics, Design Studies (MA) in Central Saint Martin's College, London, and Painting (BA, Integrated MA) in the Athens School of Fine Arts. Her training in dance and other somatic practices has played an important role in the development of her practice.
She has presented two solo exhibitions. Recent group exhibitions include 'Versions of the Garden', Symptoms projects, Amfissa in 2018, ‘New Acquisitions, Averoff Gallery, Metsovo, 2021. She has curated group projects in her house prior to be demolished (Plastira 16, Disposable Gallery, 2006 ), a project that represented Greece in the Biennale of Young artists, 2008, and in her studio, KP studio (Domestic Matter, 2017).
A liquid materiality in which colors, bodily and plant forms, figures from the history of Art, popular culture and from my own experience flow together with the movement of my body circulates in my pictorial universe. It is the raw material of my studio practice that is rooted in painting and meanders to three dimensions through sculpture and installation. My materials, oil paint, watercolour, clay, interplay and exchange information in a continuous quest for the way to articulate an inner sense of fleshiness as color and movement. Images and forms appear, disappear and reappear through intense working and reworking. The representational and the abstract, the two dimensional and the three dimensional, test out and question their identities and resonance in my visual universe. Cycles of creation and destruction, fragmentation and amalgamation unsystematically structure the process.
Eroticism, in Bataille’s sense as the dissolution of separate beings, and the flesh, as conceptualised by Merleau Potty and Mayra Rivera, as the material expression of this concept. A lack, a hunt, a breathless pursuit. A universe that is aways becoming, falling apart, reinventing itself and rising up again. I see my studio practice, and the affirmation of the pleasure, the ‘delight’, that the process as well as the final object bring as a weapon for the reestablishment of the connection of the human to the natural world .
When was the first time you felt like you were an artist?
The first time I felt I was an artist is probably when I was about 7-8 years old. Although at the time I could not say so, since I did not know what an artist was or did. There was, in the garden of my family house, on the mountains, a little hiding place created by branches and foliage, similar to a tree house or something. I would go in there and hide for hours, making up imaginary worlds. Today, a place analogous to this is my studio.
What would you say is the underlying thread that connects your work?
Underlying all my work is the love for the medium and practice of painting and the need to explore and expand it through an interaction with different media and disciplines. Sculpture, installation, collage, video, and performance are the media that I have employed over the years to this aim. However, it is the traditional media of painting which remains at the center of my interest.
What is the most satisfying part of your practice.
Painting in my studio while I listen to the music I love.
Tell us about a turning point in your artistic journey and/or career.
The lockdown period gave me the time and space to really focus on my work and the freedom of mind to concentrate on the essential elements of my practice. It was as if the world stopped. I felt as if I did not have to conform to any standards of productivity, and that strangely made me more productive. I felt free to reclaim the joy and delight that painting as a practice and as a product brings.
If you could show your work anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I would love to show my work in a church or an Italian palazzo. Religious and classical art is a major reference in my practice. As does the art of these periods, my work addresses the relationship of the body to the spirit and to matter, carnal desires and passions, love, pain, life, and death. Placing my work in such a context would bring to light many of these dimensions and open up a dialogue between the art of the past and the art of today.