Timeless female archetypes

It all started with a course assignment, in which students were asked to mentally develop the image of a «psychological workshop» by inventing two consultants. Two figures came into artist Ioanna Ralli’s mind – and both were male: The first was that of the wise old man; it was followed by that of the young prince. But where were all the women? And who are the female images embedded in our mind? The questions sparked an investigation whose findings are presented in the colorful, symbolic and particularly vivid bilingual edition of «Archetypes of the Feminine,» published by Cube Art. The elegant publication was produced on the occasion of an exhibition of the artist’s works at the Nees Morfes gallery in October last year. The book, however, is much more than a catalog of a photography exhibition. For «Archetypes of the Feminine» tells the story of a quest while reflecting the artist’s own aesthetics. In the new edition, women take on leading roles, one in each frame, with photographs accompanied by small and straightforward texts in Greek and English. Each photograph depicts an archetype: Queen, Mother Earth, Girl and so on. How did the different archetypes arise? «One part was about an attraction toward some figures, and in an attempt to comprehend where the attraction came from I started reading about mythology and religion,» Ralli told Kathimerini. In the book’s foreword, Ralli refers to mythology and religion as «mirrors of the subconscious,» an important location for collective and archetypal images of the female. The Fortuneteller, for instance, happens to be poet Katerina Angelaki-Rooke, while gallery owner Julia Dimakopoulou appears as «Logos» (Speech). The women’s identity, however, is not important, as the emphasis is on the archetypes these women represent. Symbolism, color and even textures play an integral part in the photographs, while the simple yet rich background behind the posing figures seems to share the same depth as their gaze – archetypal as well.

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