Hypothesis, Athens Photo Festival -Satellite Programme (Greece, June 2018)
Antigone Kourakou’s recent work reminds us of the inexhaustible capacity photography has to transmute reality. References to the history of photography abound and, working surreptitiously, they lead us to the threshold of a silent introspection, quite unexpected nowadays, when photographs targeting events and social issues urge us to judge, to think, to draw conclusions. In direct contrast to this condition, Kourakou’s photography prompts to imagine by stirring up deep-seated images and moments of our own lives.
The elliptical description of situations and persons in her photographs define moments whose completion requires our contribution. We need to restore perspective, to compose faces from lines and shapes, so as to, ultimately, discover the associative relationships that articulate the photographer’s personal style.
Kourakou directs by minimally drawing on reality – faces, gestures, branches, leaves, thick shadows – and recomposes an enigmatic world. Looking at her photographs, we come to realize that what lies at the core of her work is not so much what is happening when shooting as the shaping of a balance between reality and fantasy, a balance which is always in keeping with the dynamic composition of her frames.
Med Photo Fest 2017, Nona Edizione Internazionale (Italy, May 2017)
Le idee si incarnarono in figure e proposte immaginifiche, oggi leggendarie, capaci di scavalcare i secoli e imporsi con autorevolezza sino ai nostri giorni. Una ebbe nome di Antigone e custodì le ragioni del cuore difendendole contro le leggi e contro i divieti sociali, dichiarando espressamente che le ragioni del sacro hanno una loro dignità, così come la diversità del pensiero e come l’assoluta originalità della persona umana. Tormentata è stata tale dialettica, che passa, ancora, attraverso il corpo e la storia delle donne ma, proprio per questo, è divenuta esempio di ogni lotta e di ogni desiderio di evadere dal non voler crescere o quanto meno cambiare. La composizione fotografica dell’Autrice si richiama in maniera appropriata ai ritmi scenici delle grandi teatralità mediterranee laddove “l’odeon” fu, appunto, teatro di civiltà, oggi tutte da recuperare.
Testo critico scritto da Pippo Pappalardo storico e critico della fotografia.
Ideas became embodied in legendary figures and imaginative proposals, legendary today, capable of overcoming the ages and gaining authority until today. One had Antigone's name and guarded the heart's reasons by defending them against laws and against social bans, expressly declaring that the reasons for the sacred have their own dignity, as well as the diversity of thought and the absolute originality of the human person. Tormented has been such a dialectical, which still passes through the body and the story of women, but for this very reason has become an example of every struggle and every desire to escape from not wanting to grow or at least change. The photographic composition of the Artist recalls appropriately to the stage rhythms of the great Mediterranean theatricals where "odeon" was, in fact, a theater of civilization, nowadays all to be recovered.
Critical text written by the critic and historian of photography Pippo Pappalardo.
La Quatrième Image, Festival International de Photographie - Edition 4 (France, April 2017)
Antigone Kourakou est conservatrice et restauratrice d’art. La photographie est devenue l’une de ses principales activités en 2010. C’était alors pour elle un moyen de rechercher et d’exprimer un sens esthétique personnel.
«The Shadow of Things»
Lorsqu’on observe les photographies d’Antigone Kourakou, on perçoit pleinement toute l’étendue suggestive de la photographie abstraite. Bien qu’il n’y ait que peu d’informations visuelles qui relient les images aux scènes réelles, aux situations et aux événements qui les ont engendrées, les photographies nous invitent forcément à l’interprétation. Dans ses photographies, même quand le sujet est représenté en entier, l’intention derrière tel ou tel sujet photographié demeure insondable. Cependant, les détails des visages, les silhouettes lointaines, les paysages ou les espaces clos photographiés depuis des angles de vue différents se retrouvent unis dans une forme concrète d’approche photographique.
Antigone Kourakou is arts curators and restorer. The photograph is become one of this main activity in 2010. It's for her a way to research and express a personal aesthetic meaning.
«The Shadow of Things»
When we look the photographs of Antigone Kourakou, we see fully all the range of the abstract photography. Although there is only some visual information, the photographs invite us inevitably at the interpretation. In her photographs, even if the subject is not shown in entire, the intention behind each subjects photographed stay mysterious. However, the details of the faces, the distant shape, the landscape or the closed spaces photographed from different point of view meet united in a concrete shape of a photographic approach.
The Shadow of Things
Interview of the exhibition under the curation of Costis Antoniadis
The exhibition “The Shadow of Things” presented and can be visited on the digital platform of Ariadne Photo Gallery.
There are many ways to describe what one observes happening around them – especially those things to which they are emotionally vulnerable. When it comes to photography, I think this is exactly the point where the use of the means changes, where the purpose of taking pictures changes. This is when one goes past the stage of observing an image and uses it to define where they stand in relation to it, thus offering a new reading of reality by testifying their personal version.
I use photography to picture all the things that I have difficulty putting into words. For me, it is an inner process, though often not an absolutely lucid one. I isolate elements of everyday life and I create metaphors – pictures that hover between reality and fantasy. For me, these pictures principally function as symbols, but they can eventually mean something different to each viewer. If there is something that connects them, this is the common approach to depicting people or spaces that imply human presence.
I try to devote time to observation, whether this is of a person, landscapes or routes across the city.
I often direct my photographs. I start with a specific theme in mind or a general idea about what I want to photograph. In a way, I imagine the pictures but this is not necessarily unconditional. I succumb to unforeseen circumstances, leaving my initial idea behind, drifting elsewhere. For example, I get carried away by spatial details, by the light, by a person’s expressions and movements, as well as by their wish to participate. When such cooperation emerges, I am the one to follow my theme, no longer trying to define or restrict it.
Sometimes, I choose my frame out of sheer instinct, without being able to explain why. Why this theme, why this form, why something seemingly insignificant out of so many possible compositions? I don’t know; I feel that the truth lies hidden somewhere out there. It’s like a second reading of my theme, during which something new is revealed to me – something deeper.
I focus on details, I isolate them and I try to transform them into a prevalent theme, into an element that serves as a point of departure. I don’t feel the need to present a complete narrative with a beginning, a middle, and an end. It’s perhaps because my personal narrative isn’t over yet, or because it doesn’t concern anyone.
My stories are made up of the faces I photograph. People that I’m trying to discover. To find something of myself in them, in one of their gestures, in a casual glance. My stories are made up of buildings. They’re not beautiful buildings – they’re old and dark. Or they’re buildings that were abandoned and ravaged by time.
My stories are made up of nature… that is, where man begins and ends.
Everything springs from a personal need – the need to put together my own story. It serves as a kind of diary and filling its pages is my sole purpose. My narrations may lack cohesion but they’re a way to preserve the memory of my own experiences, thoughts and feelings, a form of personal development over time. Better still, it’s about the desire to map one’s course, in the hope that, perhaps in this way, it will never disappear.
The Shadow of things: