Mode International is an installation of works on paper by Athens based Irini Karayannopoulou. The artist paints directly on selected images re-discovered in the international press. In this body of work, models in outdated fashion editorials obtain new faces and undergo various metamorphoses. The masked muses are no longer objects to look at but also subjects capable of looking at us. In this transformation game, the artist explores the fringes of mainstream culture, via the transfiguration of her protagonists and the deactivation of consumerism. Mode International contributes to the blurring of the boundaries between a fashion industry generated sex-appeal, a world of fantasy (the artist’s own) and female empowerment. Irini underlines the everlasting motif of objectifying women while she reflects on society’s expectation of per fection and the pending notion of the ideal. The army of beauties featured in the exhibition, travel through time and space, vis-à-vis each other’s vulnerable and glamorous poses in newly obtained identities. Model becomes muse becomes icon becomes Goddess, in a staged situation of re-appropriation and overturning of preexisting hierarchies.

The ambiguity of these characters determines their expressive power as they fluidly transform from for gotten, superficial, unanimated puppets into powerful, quasi- supernatural women (and rarely, men). As Delia Gonzalez recently stated at the Art issue of Vogue Polska: the work of Irini Karayannopoulou achieves what all works of art aim for: entry into the world of the untouchable. Irini’s sphere is filled with boundless filters that open the passage-way to the unconscious universe, where creativity and evolution preside.

Text by Sébastien Marteau, Athens 2020

About Irini Karayannopoulou:
Irini Karayannopoulou is a visual artist and filmmaker who graduated from the Saint Etienne School of Fine Art and Design. Recent exhibitions of her work include Salon de Normandy, Rare Books Paris, Paint, also known as blood, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, The woman who gave birth to herself, Aetopoulos, Athens, The Overview Effect, MOMus Museums, Thessaloniki, Playing Ground, Automatic Transmission, Athens and Screen Compositions, Experimental Intermedia Foundation, New York.
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