Sydney-based visual artist Elena Papanikolakis’ works may soon prove difficult to ignore internationally, primed to garner the significant praise abroad that she has already received domestically in Australia. With a “practice [that] melds together found materials, personal and cultural remnants and memory to probe the nature of experiences, function and authenticity,” subtle geometries and stylized figuration coexist within and around found imagery. In her works, Elena evokes the sensation of a dream falling just out of memory’s reach, or the wordlessness that necessarily comes with describing the ineffable.
Yet, while reminiscence (or perhaps, taking into consideration the combination of media, oneiricism) can often peddle in terms of frenzy and unreality, Papanikolakis’ images bear a sense of calm. One gets the sense that while other artists may look to find “answers” from their practices, Papanikolakis is comfortable in the unknown – large swathes of muted colors, if not blankness altogether, convey an acceptance of the murky, often patchwork nature of memory and the experiential, or at least equanimity and patience in the face of their exploration. It is an honor to feature her work, and we’re sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of her work on nearer shores in the near future.