The city: symbolic, semiotic, imaginary, real

Complex explorations and expressive density are the main characteristics of Vicky Tsalamata’s art. The thematic circle “Cityscapes” has emerged from the artist’s traveling around the world and includes a series of smaller units, where the powerful inspiration and the emblematic contents coexist with high technical achievement. The art of printmaking goes hand in hand with the art of photography, leading to unusual expressive-plastic results, while the compounding-innovative methods along with the employment of digital technology open new paths to visual pursuits and give way to multiple interpretations of her work.

Her artistic compositions form polysemous narrations, define courses in time and space, travel across various civilizations, track the complex structure of social and mental sphere, explore the relation between Aesthetic, Moral and Historical elements, leading us to draw from the archive of cultural memory and international modern contexts. In a systematic way, personal involvement and insightful concern, Vicky Tsalamata transfigures the assumptions into an evocative totality, a completed meaningful deposition, a strong artistic conception and a united visual environment, which is original and monumental, imposing itself with its excellent aesthetic quality. Her images –with their consecutive layers, the succession of areas and levels, the combination of patterns, the dispersion and fluidity, the extractability and variability, the transparencies, the bright areas, the passages and fleeting shadows, the tonalities, the counterpoints and pauses, the spiral and intricate routes, the old maps and grids, the textures and transmutations of matter, the ideograms, the imprints, create sensitive and vital dynamic relations in space. The archaic, oxidized, elliptical human figures and the photographic snapshots-facts emerge together, sink deep, float, intertwine in an unexpected stratigraphy as palimpsests, mnemonic trails, inscribing elaborations of subjectivity. Multiple matrixes and bearing printing surfaces of her compositions also weave “signifying spaces”, spaces of symbols and meanings, leading the viewers to activate their personal and semiotic qualities.  They give shape to the space between subjectivity and social collectivity, where the symbolic and political arrangement of social life and unconscious forces meet and are subjected to transformation. And each and every city is a Symbolic, Semiotic, Imaginary, Real, ambivalently charged “semiotic chora[1], a “matrixial borderspace[2]. Images that, with the pulse of semiotic perforation, recast the visual reality and the univocal meaning, appear fragmentary and spectral, open themselves into other invisible dimensions, recall a different world, between utopia and dystopia, between earthly and spiritual elements, material and immaterial, decay and indestructibility. Over maps that impress the geopolitical asymmetries and the uneven class-urban planning, Tsalamata inserts elements glorifying God, the Mother of God, imprinting the transcendental, the immense, the non-objective, the Divine Justice, the transforming power of sanctity that drives the artist, as well as the imaginary space of her works. The creations of Vicky Tsalamata represent ample textualities, become a spiritual projection, express her moral standing and her active involvement in the actual traumatic contexts of pain, loss, violence, homelessness, the regulatory technocratic accounting, the various exclusions and statutory allocations of mankind, in search of new maps for relations, critical fields of solidarity and coexistence.

Anastasia Paka, Dr of History of Art,

Curator of Teloglion Foundation Collections, A.U.Th.

[1] Julia Kristeva, Revolution in Poetic Language (1974), Columbia University Press, 1984.

[2] Bracha Lichtenberg-Ettinger, The Matrixial Borderspace, University of Minnesota Press, 2006.