Dimitra Bouritsa's work combines elements of fairy tales, animals and fantastic creatures with common images and established archetypes of the west culture. Through that paradox scene she attempts to make a statement about contemporary society, its values, and the position of women in it. We interviewed her recently.
Your work is strongly influenced by Portuguese-born artist Paula Rego, when were you first exposed to her works and how did it impact your thinking?
I was first exposed to Paula Rego's work while I studied architecture in Athens. Then I came across her works in my first years in Athens School of Fine Arts and I did a further and deeper reading on her. I was deeply moved by her images, the way she goes deep down in untouched emotional fields of human relationships and of course the powerly feminist but also ironic and sarcastic essence of her work.
She is telling tales but in the same time the most unspoken truths. For me, there is no other artist that I could relate so much, inside my soul. And I admire and love so many artists.
I had the chance to see some of her paintings in Malaga two years ago and it was a treasure experience, I could stay and stare there all day. I wish I could meet her in person.
Before painting you studied sculpture, how do you feel sculpture has influenced your painting work?
I studied sculpture only for a year in Brussels, my actual studies before painting was in architecture. But both of them have had an impact in the way I perceive space, and made me wonder how painting could relate to this, expand into space and overcome its two-dimensional existence somehow, interact with the viewer beyond the canvas, in a scenographical way, and become alive.
Being based in Athens, can you share a bit about the local art scene, and your take on being surrounded by 5th-century BC landmarks?
Athens is not a place that 5th century BC landmarks form its character and image. It is not like Paris where thanks to (or because of ) Haussman has this very characteristic architecture and romantic image every visitor adores. Athens is quite chaotic, and citizens are indifferent about everything in their town. I live in the city center, I wouldn't change it for anything, I love it with its flaws. I prefer to keep my eyes open and be constantly reminded about the true situation we live in. The local art scene is quite small with several established galleries.
Through the paradox in your works you attempt to make a statement about contemporary society and the position of women in it. Do you feel that the current environment, with the #metoo movement, is making your works even more significant than before?
I would rather not relate my work to the #metoo movement. Social media and internet always make me skeptical. I would prefer to think of my work as something that is trying to make a more timeless statement.