Interview with Milena Dimitrokallis

From August 14th to 31st, Aegeanale arts and culture platform presents “Aurora Borealis II”, the solo exhibition of Milena Dimitrokallis in Naxos, Cyclades. The artist talks to Artemis Palaska and to about this project and her perception of art making.

ελc:Could you please describe your work in a few words?
Milena Dimitrokallis: My work is characterised by a tendency towards abstraction, the expressive power of colours and the expressionist quality of the painting in its entity. My perception of a theme is unconventional and the function of colour and brushstroke completely liberated. Abstract forms and shapes, bright colours and freely drawn lines with an emphasis on the spontaneous expression of feeling.

ελc: Your work can be easily interpreted as optimistic and joyful. You use multicolored, vibrant, linear patterns as part of your identity as an artist. You deliberately choose an immediate approach with the canvas which shows an active in progress discussion and a first-hand communication with your art. Is this how you experience your artistic freedom?
M.D.: When I paint I am impulsive. I am interested in painting what I feel, not what I see. I prefer my paintings to create joy, optimism and euphoria rather than hopeless concerns. For me, this is what determines the meaning of life itself. The canvas is a space in which my mind can be totally free. The more I paint, the more I explore my mind, discover it, love it, and set it free. I create my works directly on the canvas, without a prior rough sketch, guided by purely exploratory processes. One might say abstract painting is my way for soul-searching and interpreting human emotions through colours, shapes and an array of techniques.

ελc: Painting is one of the art disciplines of the current market-driven zeitgeist which declines and shows lower “demand” or as such and many consider it as a passé or banal; on the other hand, performance, video-art, and installations are gaining more and more ground and respect by demeaning painting and other classic disciplines. What’s your opinion on this matter? Do you think it is just a matter of hype?
Art and its disciplines are all welcome and in this way each artist has the opportunity to choose the medium that best expresses him. But if you don’t mind, I will stay loyal to the conventional yet timeless painting process. After all, my primary creative goal is to portray my emotional relation to the painting surface and my means of creative expression.

ελc: The last years many artists have left Greece but on the other hand many art-residencies, art-initiatives have arisen. People are now more aware and conscious on cultural matters. Do you believe that artistic collaboration can favor and lure the artists back? Does a network-sharing behavior can lead to a better end and create better prospects or is it just temporary?
Because of the economic crisis in Greece, many are gradually moving abroad, from scientists to families, students, craftsmen and artists. However, I believe this was always the case, but it is now that we pay more attention to the issue. Art, in all its forms, cannot really solve the political and social issues that arise in a society, but it can identify them and lead people in a dialogue with each other and with themselves. It can make us more sensitive and conscious. It can stimulate us spiritually and mentally and last but not least, it can function comfortingly.

ελc: Aegeanale’s vision is to create Aegean art destinations. As an artist how do you respond to that? Do you think that culture holds a promising future in Greece?
Culture and Greece have always gone hand in hand, throughout time. Aegeanale’s role in supporting and elevating the future of culture in Greece is exceptionally significant as it functions as an international art and culture platform which brings together artists and visitors from all over the world to a summer of discovery and inspiration in the Aegean Sea. Aegeanale’s goal is to highlight the Aegean as a region of creativity, inspiration and intercultural dialogue and I am very happy and honoured that this year the programme includes my solo painting exhibition titled “Aurora Borealis II” in the Castle of Naxos, 14-31 August.

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