As published in In Focus, Vol. 8, No 2, May 2011
MARIA TRILLIDOU: BIO
Maria Trillidou studied art at the University of Arts, Philadelphia, USA (1987-1991), and at MFA/ el School of Art & Design, Basel, Switzerland (1991-1993). At present, she is a Doctoral canditate at Middlesex University, London, UK. She has organized six Solo Shows, and participated in nine Group Shows.
VISUAL BIOMORPHIC CREATION
DISCOVERY, TRANSFORMATION AND TRANSMUTATION OF FORM
Maria Trillidou studies, and wants to express, in her visual creations the complexity of DNA and the ramification of life. The antithetical concepts of the biological cycle are presented without limitations and intellectual prohibitions in the service of art.
An interview with the artist by Dina Pamballi.
What is beautiful and what is ugly? What is natural and what is artificial? Attraction and repulsion, birth and decay, revival and re-composition. These are some of the questions to which the artist Maria Trillidou tries to find answers through her studies relating to existence and art. The evolution of the vegetable and animal kingdoms through the discovery, transmutation and interchange of form is a priority in her artistic creations. She is interested in a new view of the existing world without limitations and intellectual prohibitions, with her imagination free to follow her own paths of the conscious and subconscious.
Born in Nicosia, she studied Fine Art and Design at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in the U.S.A., and art with experimental media at the Basle School of Arts and Design in Basle, Switzerland. She has shown her work in solo and group exhibitions both in Cyprus and abroad. In 2006 she had her first collaboration with the Diatopos Centre of Contemporary Art with the title “Change of Code”.
Sensual hybrid figures through the labyrinthine journey of genetic evolution and ramification of life; bizarre beings and creatures, some existing, others of her imagination, are recorded on her canvas, making up her new series of works with the meaningful title “EVE”.
Q: Could we call your creations “visual biomorphic shapes”? What is the source of the stimulus?
A: The stimulus is everything that impresses and fascinates me as a person. Such as ‘what is life’, ‘what does our existence mean’, as well as the major subject of the modern discoveries which are based on our genes. I am inspired by the endless possibilities of cellular re-composition and the perpetuation of the genetic information of complex figures in time. For this reason I called my new series of works “EVE-Endless-Variable-Evolution”. An ancestral investigation and a gene which we carry, which interchanges and branches off.
Q: What is the process through which you visually record all these things which inspire you and stimulate your imagination?
A: I don’t separate processes but work mixing materials such as water colours, acrylics and pencil with more experimental materials such as glitter, silver leaf, gold leaf, metallic elements. There is also a little of the decorative element. If we look through the microscope at the organisms of nature, we will see amazing decorative elements, which we imitate. Nature has always been a source of inspiration in the decorative arts.
Q: Do the compositions of the works show that they do not submit to logical and intellectual prohibitions?
A: I try to let the elements which exist in my work function far removed from logic, in some way. I do not want to be restricted. Generally we think that certain things are thus, whereas they are otherwise. We have codified most concepts and we cannot escape from these. What we consider beautiful, in another universe its code may be completely different and it is not beautiful at all. In letting our imagination go free we can touch this tiniest amount in infinity of the things which exist and we do not know about. One artist will touch one point, another artist another point, and perhaps we are all a tiny part of the one.
Q: With the natural and the artificial coexisting and being compared at the same time?
A: I want to compare the vulnerable with the artificially strengthened. In one work, for example, there is a fox which shows how vulnerable a being it is. At the same time, however, there is the bionic element like protective armour, which is something defensive–offensive. In man we come across the coexistence and the strengthening of the two concepts. We continuously try to recall immortality. We are vulnerable because we are conscious of our mortality. We know that we have an expiry date and we try in every way to “put it off” through technological progress and methods, with the primary objective of perpetuating our genes.
Q: “As a woman I choreograph my own dance seeking the unborn woman in my own body.” Did you say this somewhere?
A: If you look inside the universe, everything is like a spiral dance, even our DNA. I see it from the romantic angle; the scientist will see it more realistically and specifically, examining even its smallest detail. It is our journey on earth through our body. We have a soul; we also have a body and seeing the expression of the soul it is as if I want to see the material expression of the immaterial.
Q: Are the imaginary and slightly fairy-tale worlds of your compositions yet another way of escaping from reality?
A: We cannot say with certainty what reality is. What people understand as reality may be the laws of Nature and the passing of time, but there is something more; however paradoxical it sounds I believe that beyond the transformation and the flow of life reality is somewhere in the static state, in the infinitely tiny second. I treat “reality” like a game. I enjoy myself when I create something and so over and above metaphor and allegory there is also a lot of humour.
Q: How much does the fact that you are also occupied with the graphic arts, and indeed in a field which involves cartoon figures, help you?
A: The one type of work inspires the other. I deal with the world of children and from the moment you distance yourself from this world you lose something inside you. From the logical viewpoint it may be non-existent, fairy-tale, but it is the world which offers the stimuli to our imagination.
Q: Do art and psychology feed each other, one giving answers to the other?
A: Certainly. For example, in science if you cannot imagine something you will not discover it and consequently be able to prove it. We take some things for granted, that the universe functions and we function as organisms, but we do not know how. With the imagination, however, you will certainly be led along many other paths, often arriving at the answer as well. Jules Verne had imagined things which were discovered later. Albert Einstein had imagined the theory of relativity even before he discovered it. Scientists very often make references through literature and art. I say that I make imaginary beings, but these beings may not be imaginary, they may exist under the microscope, beings which we cannot even imagine how strange they are. Yet they are with us, live with us and we carry large numbers of them, they are on us.