Leonardo da Vinci in his Treatise on Painting wrote that:
By looking attentively at old and smeared walls, or stones and veined marble of various colours, you may fancy that you see in them several compositions, landscapes, battles, figures in quick motion, strange countenances and dresses, with an infinity of other objects. By these confused lines the inventive genius is excited to new exertion.
On April 2nd 2009 the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art of Thessaloniki, Greece, presented the exhibition of Rena Papaspyrou entitled Flashback, curated by Denis Zacharopoulos. The large exhibition rooms hosted her most famous artworks since 1975, which together narrated the artist's unique trajectory in time.
Among the numerous artworks there was an important unity entitled Episodes in Matter (1975-1979), surfaces extracted from walls that reveal familiar and unfamiliar images. Rena Papaspyrou, as most of us when we were kids, observes simple and everyday objects that "hide" images in their interior, random and special.
The mosaic turns into a ready-made of her own and bears on its surface the images and the episodes that little by little form into her mind by association. Constellations, random symbols, images of women and volumes compose her own mythology, dots that unite little by little revealing a surprising result to the viewer.
It is an intervention that refers to imaginary projections of images on matter and that contains the memory of simple everyday images. It looks like a magazine illustration, where all elements complement each other. Thus, as Denis Zacharopoulos observes, these random optical stimulations of surface, the traces, "provide" the keys to a further elaboration.
Rena Papaspyrou on Episodes on Matter presents three different concepts, randomness, materiality and immateriality. Onto the surfaces of the walls entire stories appear; sometimes faint and sometimes dynamically represented, they call for conjunctive and critical thought from the viewers. "It is an absurd riddle" wrote one of the visitors on the exhibition guestbook and, indeed, Rena Papaspyrou plays with the eyes and the mind creating uniquely complex images that stem from one visual stimulation only.
Rena Papaspyrou lives and works in Athens. She is a Professor Emeritus of the School of Fine Arts of Athens. She has presented a lot of personal exhibitions in Thessaloniki, Athens and abroad.