LET GO OF BEAUTY
An interview with Harriet Moutsopoulos
Tell us a bit about you.
Australian born and bred, I am a self taught collage artist who works under the name Lexicon Love.
I have participated in group exhibitions across the world, from New York and Miami, including showing at Scope Art Fair in 2019 as part of the Samsung Special Category, to places throughout the UK, my work has a widespread audience. In addition to Solo shows in Sydney Australia, I have been included in numerous publications including Linda. Magazine, FAUX Q, Create Magazine and The Penn Review.
You're working with digital collage, how did you get started working in this way?
I simply love the idea of being able to renegotiate and manipulate the origins of an image through the medium of digital collage. Although my mental approach is analogue, my physical techniques are digital. In order to avoid digital excess, I employ a self-imposed ban on using more than two, and on the rare occasion three, elements.
It's great for artists to work within restraints because it can produce a definitive style and language within your work.
The most significant challenge for me is giving each artwork the slight imperfections of hand and the general look and feel of being made entirely from traditional analogue practises.
To achieve this I do not use any sophisticated software such as Photoshop or Illustrator. Instead, my tools of choice are simple and closely mimic analogue techniques. It’s like working with your hands in the traditional sense.
Remixing the old with the new to create new truths, I organise and reorganise until it ‘feels right’.
Your work is very visually pleasing and almost humorous. What are you trying to communicate to your viewer?
I work from my heart. There is no clear-cut idea of what the reaction to my artwork should be. I just invite you to consider it for a moment. By showing what is not beautiful by default, you come to a conclusion yourself. For that you have to let go of your ideas about beauty first.
I view laughter as a statement of power and courage and cultivate a sense of humour in each piece. I think it is a way of channelling my love of swan shaped table napkins into a different visual language!
"I guess the real power of the final composition is what can't be seen."
You constantly cover your subjects' faces. Can you tell us more about why?
By concealing the faces, i remove any distraction and invite the observer to slow down and join the dots in order to seek out the hidden. I guess the real power of the final composition is what can't be seen. At this point the observer holds all the power and the artist none!
The power looking is so powerful especially when your work has these concealed identities. What is your relationship with food and identity?
I often combine food and other objects with portraits. Obscuring the faces of my portraits with food is designed to not only challenge traditional notions of beauty, but also to provoke, tease and confuse the observer.
My background is Greek by the way, we Greeks have a complex relationship with food. Ever since I was young, it wasn't about anything else. Eat more this, have some more of that, but not so much of that, this is how you make that, this is not how you make that. Even without explicitly referring to love, food means love. Food is everything and everything is food. Just look at achieving the same degree of intimacy, love and security without food.