Independent Curator

"The density that we observe in Daphne Anastassiou's works constitutes the succession of incursions that have passed through the format, coating it with memories and promises over which the artist will trace later the profile of her protagonists.""

Curatorial Mario Fonseca
Daphne Anastassiou and the painting.
Painting is an action that converts the flat surface of a canvas into a horizon; this is, however, a fiction. From the most severe realism to the monochromatic abstractionism, the purpose of the painter seems to be to condense a fragment of the Universe on a bi-dimensional plane. Is that unique possibility the one that mobilizes her efforts, her aptitudes and vocation. Moreover, since the ancient times an imprint on a wall has created a connection with the unknown, for better or for worst, an incantation of spirits, a gesture of going beyond. Painting has been the register of what existed in the past as much as the register of what could exist in the future, both always designated by the same moment, the present. Painting is the present of all possibilities, be they imagined or tangible, and at the same time the present constricts time, the support of a painting can only be bi-dimensional, because it must freeze volumes and displacements in order to display them. To circumscribe painting to the present, that is, to the present of the artist, provides an infinite freedom in the seizure of the Universe.

The painting of Daphne Anastassiou can be seen from the angle of these parameters; in addition, the preceding thoughts emerge from a survey of her paintings. Her works cover a period of barely more than ten years and do not have an abundant curriculum: they respond to a permanent attraction to art. That attraction led her to participate in a workshop for personal development based on artistic expression, which stimulated her latent vocation. Suddenly, the passage of time in relation to Daphne Anastassiou halts at a point in the present and expands relentlessly in all directions of the perimeterless plane on which she never ceases to paint. Conscious of the state of a momentary suspension of eternity, the artist opens a dialogue with the instances that shape her and through which the constants and the imponderables of the cosmos flow. Wisdom shows her that nothing is pressing and even just a single answer could integrate all others, but this interchange is bountiful and her paintings evolve one after another. The colors provide evidence of this persistence and intensity.

In order to record the evolution of the Universe the surface of a canvas must be transparent. The density that we see in the work of Daphne Anastassiou is achieved by a succession of incursions that have passed through the support, impregnating it with memories and promises, upon which the artist will trace later the profile of her protagonists. These are gesticulated sketches whose materiality moves indistinctly from impasto to gouache, integrating the textures and transparencies to the artist's selection of pigments, in a process that expresses a rich sense of improvisation: the freedom of chaos as the key to the underlying fractal order. When convoking the cosmos, the Universe, there is no pre-established way to paint. The virtue of the artist is to have been ready at the very exact moment in order to influence in the seven cardinal points, whose beginning can only be seen in a given and unique moment, and

whose orientation may be prolonged for a second, or for the ten, eleven years or more that the artist has been pursuing them, only to expire also suddenly, at another moment for which she is equally ready. Daphne Anastassiou paints, as I can observe, as if she had always painted, as if this has been done in a one and only present and her works show the typical inflections of the emphasis of each dialogue and, primarily, of each interlocutor.

We do not know who exchange signs or words with the artist, she does not know it either, she really does not care about it: are their lines who she cares about, the colour of their gestures, the density of their voices, the silent that goes on. This is what she transfers to the flat surface of her canvases to expound on the vast horizons, the elevated heavens or the sinuous movements that these dialogues shape, erecting scenarios onto which the interlocutors that really matter will be expressed, we are these interlocutors, you, me, herself, a few sometimes, a lot in another occasions. It is then when the artist takes the pencil and splits these surfaces of unfathomable colours in order to give us a place in time to finally develop the fiction of the painting,

Establishing from the present, the past and the future, spreading the space and the movement from the bidimensional plane. Thus, the characters appear, we all appear flowing towards the boundless, receiving the rain from the cosmos, re establishing the tangible exchange with the Universe.

There was a moment when Daphne Anastassiou sought us to dedicate to the title of this show and we researched the Greek of her origins. Emerged terms such as éctesis - profession of faith, diánoia - intuition of the last principles or ataxia - peace of mind, but finally she chose the word that summarized and projected all her purposes: Agapi, love.

Mario Fonseca
Santiago, Chile, Octubre 2009

Natalia Arcos 2010

"The betrayal to the realistic representation of the visible world is in Daphne Anastassiou the explorer engine of subconscious, what makes her explode also the surface of the work."

Natalia Arcos
Painting in continuous trance.
As soon as I met her for the first time, I knew that Daphne Anastassiou was an explorer. She belongs to that category of human beings who prefer to venture into the unknown rather than be builders, intermediaries or investigators. "They betray", as a character in Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being says, because they abandon the known to seek the unknown.

The betrayal of the conscious world is, then, the motor of the explorative dynamism of the subconscious that detonates over the surface of the painting. I recall Matta and his anthropomorphic references, in those convulsions and whirlwinds, transparencies and opacities, those "psychological morphologies" that respond to a composition produced in trance, where interior landscape emerge, producing discomfort and anxiety.

What Daphne paints is not just "beautiful". Nor is it just decorative. Do not be confused by the coloration. There is a reason why we are writing and thinking about her painting. All her work appears to me like a single continuous body, a channel opened to a greater realm, a very concentrated, fluid aperture, filled with communication: one after another, her paintings follow each other like enriched layers of the same message. But this process is not just connected to the essence of the universal light; it is more than that. It seems to me that hers is a work whose root is absolutely corporal.

I have not seen her working in her studio; however, I know that her entire body is present in each of her paintings. We can perceive her state of meditation because her paintings are an opened chaos, framed (never better said) in a logical sense. She "grounds" what we call emotions. But, what are these emotions? They are blows below the belt, forces that attract, jolts, sweet tiny vibrations. How are they grounded in us? Through our body.

So every ferocious brushstroke, each candid blotch of color, every intense movement she executes, each firm line, is her body telling us what she is experiencing. Her hand, her arm, her shoulder, her head, her complete body can be felt. Yes, it is her body perceiving; yes, it is her body playing; yes, it is her body exploring.

Returning to the "betrayal" topic. Daphne abandoned the option of representing the measure of the world around us: her work over the canvas is an intense gestural and psychological exercise, one whose beginning and ending cannot be known. Expressing their sensations guided by pure intuition. How could we use these images? They can serve us to confirm that we share a common foundation in front of human experience. Her work also contains much of primitive cave painting: it is a direct testimony to the fact that we are alive and need to preserve that reality for posterity.

We see silhouettes emerging through blocks of intense colours. At times there is joy, at times there is sadness, often both emotions cohabit in harmony. Without being in any way realistic representations, her paintings can, however, be considered as photographs because they capture the precise and specific moments, as if they were snapshots. And, additionally, if we think of these paintings as pictorial groundings of cosmic connections, are they not 'Drawings of Light', meaning "Photographs".

Thus, it occurs to me that her paintings, one after another, are documents. They are documents of emotions, of experiences, of moments that the great majority of us consider part of the everyday condition, without any relevance. But Daphne knows of the greatness that each situation, each coincidence, each circumstance, and each act contains a gift of the Universe. And she documents them in large paintings.

So, she is not the same when she paints, she is more She than ever when she paints.

Natalia Arcos Salvo
Santiago, Chile, August 2010

Gina Benvenuto 2011

"Pinta la luz, el color, la llama y el flujo de la vida."

Gina Benvenuto
Todos los fuegos, el fuego

Pinta la luz, el color, la llama y el flujo de la vida. Es el robo a los dioses del fuego mítico para iluminar al hombre - oscuro y oscurecido- en las poluciones de su alma, lo que la artista Daphne Anastassiou regala a los espectadores de su arte.

Es la "Prometea" femenina prometiendo el deber y el derecho al fuego interno de cada niño, mujer u hombre de esta tierra. Algo de una voluntad mesiánica se transparenta en su intensa y emotiva gestualidad pictórica. Somos energía portadora del fuego que es divino y que es humano.

El flujo del universo, - el regalo robado a los dioses- se hace bloque antropomórfico de electrificados colores. Es el flujo conciente- inconsciente que explota y se hace figura: Racimos de seres humanos diferenciados cada uno mediante el trazo del lápiz, pero de alguna manera uniformados, asimilados mediante el uso del color.

De gran formato e intensa luminosidad sus cuadros promueven y remueven intensas sensaciones, actualizando y traspasando su profesión de fe en las energías vitales y los principios últimos y trascendentes de todo lo humano, que es previsto y provisto desde lo divino. El fuego, si vino de los dioses, se queda entre los hombres. El más acá y el más allá mediados e interconectados.

Uno de sus trabajos "Encuentros" que tiene algo de los "sersajes" (paisajes del ser) de Matta - quedó, como ilustración en la tapa de un libro de las Naciones Unidas.

Es sicóloga de profesión, pero es ante todo una entusiasta creadora que ve en el arte y en el juego fértiles posibilidades para un desarrollo completo y libre de cada individuo. Es como si la libertad fuese el terreno propicio para la singularidad, una singularidad que se promete bella y buena porque tiene algo de divina.

Gina Benvenuto

Santiago, Chile, 2011

Edward Shaw 2010


"Her work is a celebration of joy, of colour and of the tension of the form. The artist gives herself entirely in the process and aspires to bewitch the spectators: a curse that can conjure eternally joy and ties in equal parts."

Edward Shaw
Painting between the lines.
Daphne draws on her condition as a woman, her Greek heritage, her knowledge of psychology and her raw talent to etch her essence on canvas. The visual result of her rich background is a vibrant display of cosmic creativity that dances in harmonic hues of bright color across the surface of her pictures.

Daphne expresses her profound sense of joy at the potential of art to focus the frenzy of her feelings. Flexibility, movement, and the brio of dance all give character to her brushstrokes, to her intentions and visions. Daphne seeks inspiration beyond the frontiers of her mind, her emotion, her body: she seeks the territory where all human attributes merge in a spirit-driven search for comprehension.

The conquest of this synthesis motivates her quest to dig into the deepest nooks and crannies of her interior and let her hand pulsate to the rhythm that shapes the result, transforming the everyday materials of an artist into a pageant of chromatic interventions that convert figurative ideas into abstract designs and abstract intuitions into veiled symbols of recognizable imagery.

The final product of her invasion of a once-pristine white surface is one woman's glimpse of what matters: an individual's resolution of the painter's perennial dilemma through knowledge of technique and application of physical dexterity.

For a long time Daphne kept her art to herself, not feeling comfortable, perhaps, with revealing her innermost sensations in the form of personal symphonies in paint. Music and movement are at play in her composition: both blended in the context of her own self as a sentient being in constant motion. She distributes her colors in designs that emerge from this otherworldly state in which she finds herself at the moment of action, in that instant when energy turns into art.

Her work, however, is not a puzzle: we are not trying to look for recognizable forms. This is not a game, like finding fleeting animal forms in fluctuating cloud formations. The structure emerges from superimposed layers of Daphne's desire to inform us of what she feels, what she is striving to contribute to our growth, be it visual or emotional, through the impact we receive on first viewing her painting. The initial impression is the one that stays, that penetrates beyond the mind's eye. What comes next is a form of visual complacence: seeking passive pleasure in gratifying our senses. Daphne, however, aims at an instantaneous conquest, love at first sight.

People look for what they recognize in figurative paintings. They need to know the quantity of hours, the number of days it took the artist to complete the painting. The work ethic pervades, even in regarding art. Great artists are, in the end, a combination of their talent and originality and their ability to make each painting similar enough in style and content to another, so the average eye can send the message to the brain that one is looking at a Picasso or a Warhol. Daphne is not interested in that method. Her formation guides her along a distinctive route.

Pure abstraction is something else. The appeal is primarily color and combinations of color. An opportune composition sets the eye spinning like a slot machine until the revolving band of symbols stops at one of them. When the three symbols in the line are the same, it's the jackpot! That in terms of art is when an abstract painter's image sticks in our visual memory. Just as figurative paintings go from hyperrealism to fluid expressionism, abstract art goes from hard edge to expressionism, the style, for example, of the School of New York in the 1950s. The two approaches can diverge, taking ingredients from both recipes.

Daphne starts at the outer edge of these twin expressionisms. Her brushstrokes evolve into barely discernable figures and floating clouds of color. She superimposes the two in an intuitive, almost instinctive, way, without any preconceived grand design. Most artists start with a rational idea of what they are aiming to achieve on canvas, be it a person in whatever degree of digression the figure might take, or in a display of colors representing only themselves in juxtaposition to one and another. Most artists also say that a painting itself will take over at some point in the process and become the guiding force behind the end result. It is just this combination of purpose and permeability which can permit a painter to capture a spark of the unknown, of the un-seeable, in his or her work.

Daphne follows the interior forces that propel her forward in her search. When facing a blank canvas, she feels the urge to register certain sensations in paint. These sensations are just that: they are not specific images. A splash of color spontaneously covers a corner, another, the center, another caresses the first, and the game is underway. As the colors converge on the surface, she devises the embryo of a form, a shape. She sharpens it, so that it becomes an amorphous figure. This procedure is repeated and the first splashes of color can no longer be identified. They have been integrated into the whole, into the finished work that eventually hangs on a gallery wall.

The process has a tenuous beginning, like a seed sending up its first chute. The organism grows and reaches its moment of fruition. It is at that precise instant that Daphne wants to halt the evolution of her painting. A flash of intuition, an inner voice cries "Stop!", and a brush in mid-air halts its approach and aborts its encounter with the canvas.

Daphne's work is a celebration of the joy of color and the tension of shape. The apparent joy may conceal sorrow; the tension may constrict or dissolve. Daphne cannot identify each and every emotion in her work, nor can she be sure what each shape is projecting onto the viewer's screen of perception. She puts her entire self into the process and aspires to cast her spell on her viewers: a spell that conjures, in a timeless way, joy and union in equal portions.

Edward Shaw
Tunquén, Chile - August 2010

Concepción Balmes 2009


"Through a sensitive and musical colouring her work come to us like a breath of fresh and spring-like air. Her compositions are populated with characters that are interwoven in shape and colour, creating a pattern that lights up an original and dynamic universe."

Concepcion Balmes
Painter of dreams.
Psychologist by profession, Daphne Anastassiou is basically a creator, a painter of dreams. Her unique work arises from a process of personal development.

Daphne takes up the tools of painting to initiate a conversation with herself, a dialogue that evolves and opens doors, resulting in a very interesting and authentic work.

Daphne's paintings are created on the vague border between physical reality and the invisible world. To this artist, the images emerge like the concretion of sensations that come from her subtle perception.

Through a musical and sensitive coloring, her work come to us like a breath of fresh and spring-like air. Her compositions are populated with characters that are intertwined in shape and colour, creating a pattern that lights up an original and dynamic universe.

Human feeling is at the beginning of practically all the work of this psychologist who has been painting for several years. Here colour and composition are totally free and operate as a kind of ritual.

The being is the center, has the leading role of the pictorial adventure. This being is created, multiplied, and diversified in front of our eyes. The human being is starting the point, the first creation that causes a diverse chromatic universe, barely tied by a simple and skillful black graphic.

The human and the divine here and now. A woman, a man, a crowd, a vibration.

After seeing these paintings we are left with a deep feeling of love.

The heart and the authenticity as fundamental values.

Concepción Balmes
Santiago, Chile, October 2009

Carlos Navarrete 2013

"It is because a great part of the strength of the colour that inhabits her work comes from her inner self, thus, her work as a visual artist is the reflex of that light that she has inside."
Carlos Navarrete
The Power of Color in the Paintings of Daphne Anastassiou
"In visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is - as it physically is. This fact makes of the colour the most relative means in art."
Josef Albers

We live in a world full of colors, yet we curiously opt for certain chromatisms, that reduce the vast universe that nature has given us. Color is light, and as such, its behavior depends on our perception and on how it appears before our eyes. This always tends to confuse us, precisely because of the relativity that this phenomenon demonstrates when we wish to capture it. The German painter Josef Albers (1901-1995) dedicated a large part of his life to the study of this phenomenon and created a chromatic theory that can be taught to others and in a way, it was also a generous intent to make us sensible to that manifestation. Maybe that explains why his essays became popular in North America in the 1950s. Taking giant steps, this country showed the world it's fast growing development and expanded the range of operations across its borders. This tendency to expand partly explains the artist's travels, along with his wife Anni Albers (1899 - 1994) across Latin America, where they searched for ways to propagate this new educational model and, at the same time, used this opportunity to study our Pre-Colombian culture.

A few weeks ago, I received an invitation from the artist Daphne Anastassiou to visit one of her painting studios in western Santiago and as I entered the spacious industrial warehouse -which sometimes acts as shelter for her art-, the image of the German creator previously mentioned came to my mind like a countersign of art committed with the vital need to express itself through the power of color. As I took a fast look around the place where she busily works, each one of her canvases seemed to be accurate testimonies of an artist that looks to portray, through chromatic energy, the human being in his purest even primeval state. From then on, several paintings done by the artist in large format gave me a sense of understanding the different states of human nature and how it is constructed. Sometimes full of light and purity, others close to earth, even in some works seemed to me that there was an effigy of a being in complete harmony with their enviroment. This last fact drove me to think that Daphne Anastasssiou and her paintings want to portrait each one of the states of the human being and their soul with the nerve of the colour, without making each of these forms abandon their earthy shape.

For a long time, the figure of J. Albers seemed to overshadow his wife Anni, especially if we think of the influence he had as a professor in Black Mountain College and later, in the School of Arts at Yale University (1). Today, however, the importance of Anni Albers had on Josef's art becomes evident, as well as her influence on the decision to travel to South America (2). As an example of this it is the beautiful production of textiles with geometrical motifs, that the artist worked patiently under her husband's shadow. Clearly

inspired by the native Pre-Colombian geometries of the nations they had visited. This attitude allowes us to get into the fusion of the shape and colour of our landscape that she observed.

While talking lively with Daphne about her motivations and creative phases, one of the things that attracted my attention was the value she gave to the observation of the human being, in a way that went beyond the religious, political and economic understanding. Her interest when portraying was not only to capture the essence of a person, but also find the attachment of human nature to its landscape, architecture or in a more general way, to territory. "Colours heal," (3) she said during our conversation, and in a certain way, while looking at each one of the chromatisms that were drawn in the bodies that inhabit these works, it is possible to understand the meaning of her claim and at the same time, how she has been able to condense the internal light that we all carry on through the gesture and dynamism that constitutes her paintings. From there on, it was not surprising to find paintings in which the intensity of the colours were contained by the loose lines done in oil pastels, as if with that procedure the artist would mark a time in the life sheet of the portrayed, as a life diary.

Same as Anni Albers's textile art, I perceived in Daphne's gesture an intense desire to weave the America's portrait history through the temperatures of her landscape, reflected in the silhouettes of the bodies and torsos that are cheerfully exposed on the surface of the canvas or over works on paper.

I was also surprised by the paintings where layers of colours were worked as if it were a pictorial surface - linen mounted over wood - in a way more closer to metal print or goldsmithery than the real easel's painter work. Because many of the textures, impastos and erosions that are performed in some of her works are possible thanks to this old knowledge, to the guache and transparencies that are always present in the life inside a painter's workshop. In a symptomatic way, the previously described characteristics draw Daphne closer to the works of J. Albers, because many of his works in the series "Homage to the Square," were done on Masonite -agglomerated wood- to provide more coherence to the previously mentioned chromatic study, making the mass of colors visible and demonstrating the relativity of it when observed.

Therefore, if we think of paintings as a language dedicated to colour, we will surprisingly discover that there are just a few artists that have dedicated their efforts to this matter. In addition to the already mentioned artists, we need to mention the unavoidable figure of Paul Gauguin (1848 - 1903) and Henry Matisse (1869 - 1954), who found in the exoticism of landscapes -Tahiti and Morocco, respectively- the road to illuminate the portraits and landscapes that fill their canvases. Something that the paintings of Daphne Anastassiou have learned to absorb while travelling from one studio to another. From the intense sun

of the afternoon in her studio in Quinta Normal to the bright light of her space in Américo Vespucio Norte, while coming and going in a city blinded by the gray asphalt and the Andes mountain range.

This fact leads me to state that in the pictorial work D. Anastassiou evidences the remarkable reflection of Oskar Schlemer when he states: " I believe that good part of my anxiety it is because I immediately and very easily fall in love with those fascinating possibilities ; in a way that I think I could reach all". (4) And it is because good part of the sense of the colour that inhabits in her work comes from her inside, being then, her work as a visual artist, the reflect of that light that she has inside and, at the same time, the desire to understand human nature through the chromatism in a maximum intensity status, maybe as the gesture to arouse the fire - light- that there is inside of each one of us. It is because for her, the exitement of these bodies over the canvases are , in the end, a live portrait of an artist that celebrates life as an event worthy of being announced.

Carlos Navarrete
Santiago, Chile, November 2013

1.- After the closing of the BAUHAUS in Germany, Josef Albers emigrated to the United States and became professor at Black Mountain College from 1933 to 1949, and later, from 1950 to 1958 at the Department of Design of Yale University. He resided in New Haven until his death.
2.- In the chronology of his travels, it must be noted that: in 1939, Josef and Anni Albers travel to Mexico, later in 1941 they spend a sabbatical year in New Mexico and Mexico. In 1968, Josef Albers obtains the grand prize in the III American Engraving Biennial, done in Santiago, Chile. For more information about the particular, see:
3.- Carlos Navarrete in conversation with the artist. November. Santiago, Chile.
4.- Oskar Schlemmer, "Diario 25 de junio de 1923" in Escritos sobre Arte: pintura, teatro, danza, cartas y diarios. (Spanish Edition) Ediciones Paid's. Barcelona, 1987. p.68