“Her style is diametrically opposed to
the more literal interpretation of point-and-shoot photography”
By Richard Malinsky, Arts Editor
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The homepage of Antigone Kourakou’s website is striking in its simplicity—a single black-and-white photograph of a woman in a full-frontal reclining position. However, there is finally nothing simple about it. Who is this woman, why is she in this pose, and what is she thinking? The heart of Kourakou’s artistic quest is to probe the unknown and present photographic images that engage on a deeply emotional level.
Antigone Kourakou, whose work appears in WTP Vol. V #4, lives and works in Athens, Greece, and is an art conservator-restorer. She developed an interest in photography in 1998 while studying conservation. After significant research and experimentation in both esthetic and technical aspects of photography, she began a serious body of photographic work in 2010.
Her work on her website in organized into six photographic series, each expressive of thematic photographic iconography. There is a poignant poetic dimension to her work heightened by a certain reticence; she refrains from framing her subjects within a particular context, leaving their circumstances to be interpreted by the viewer.
Her style is diametrically opposed to the more literal interpretation of point-and-shoot photography, where the photographer is apt to happen upon a subject or scene and employ more of technical manipulation of the image. Kourakou’s images seem to be more about theme than the original subjects themselves—she becomes the author of her content. For example, Short Stories About Loss “Athens, November, 2010,” seems to be about loss or maybe loneliness. Perhaps the loss of human connection, symbolized by a hand touching its own shadow. Or is it more about emotional pain, some deep hurt, the way the arm is angled and against such stark lighting?
In another example, “Syros, December, 2013,” the haunting, seemingly unfocused gaze of a Bergmanesque figure could be interpreted as a longing to overcome some insurmountable personal dilemma, or perhaps simply a yearning for something more? This ambiguity, whether intentional or not, charges her images with great intimacy.
On the “Exhibition” page of her website, there is a dramatic 3D fly-through animation of Kourakou’s 2015 major exhibition The Shadow of Things. The exhibition took place digitally through the virtual art gallery host Ariadne Photo Gallery, and an audio interview with the artist is also included.
There are many ways to describe what one actually sees in a work of art, but this finally is what Kourakou’s work seems to be all about: the shadow of things, the unseen that lurks beneath not only the facade of her subjects, but all of our collective selves.
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