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