These Surreal Scarves Explore the Depths of the Jungian Unconscious… with a Humorous, Greek Twist
Multi-media artist Loula Levedi combines the unexpected in her scarf collection, A Totem Für Elita
A passion for the archetypal weaves through the work of Athenian artist Loula Levedi. The multidisciplinary artist’s primary project, A Totem Für Elita, features beautiful silk scarves all made in Greece. Her fascination with juxtaposition, mythos, and the Jungian Unconscious weaves its way into the subjects she (often humorously) portrays.
Who knew a talk about scarves could go so far down the rabbit hole? Read on for our chat… spanning everything from the role of myths in modern day life to the nature of time itself.
I love how you speak about the idea of breathing life into past myths. This past year I’ve sought insight into the modern world through myth and archetype. Was there a point for you when it clicked to find wisdom in looking to the past or is this a longtime fascination?
I think it might be the second one! I find myself fascinated mostly by the power of the aesthetic and intellectual legacy which is carried by the archetypes and affects and forms the unconscious repertoire. Also, the symbolic language that exists in mythology, although mild and easy to interpret, could be stimulating when spread onto the map of modern man’s life.
Your work immediately makes me think of Jungian psychology, and the idea of the Jungian Collective Unconscious. Is this true? Tell me about it!
Yes, I admit it! 🙂 Through dreams and archetypes emerge another way of perceiving reality and coding the world: symbolism. The symbolic language is the language that it is ”spoken” by so many art forms and not only… it is something like a timeless ritual to engage with reality.
In addition to your line of scarves, A Totem Für Elita, you’re a photographer and multidisciplinary artist. Which medium fascinates you the most?
I would use the folk expression ”the end justifies the means,” only to justify my choice to ”convert” my mobile phone to a creative tool of visual images that you can have always with you. However, this admission also brings me close to McLuhan belief that ”a medium could be an extension of ourselves,” like any new technology. According to these words my mobile phone camera becomes an extension of my thoughts and vision, conscious or unconscious, and sometimes helps me form an end that at first I could not believe or assume that was there…and that’s magic!
I love the surreal nature of your work. Which artists or films inspire you the most, in this realm?
Louise Bourgeois, Luis Bunuel, Paris Chaviaras, the catalog is endless…..
Our garments, in the past, were laden with meaning. Nowadays things are more informed by what sells versus function or a meaning (baptismal, for example). But your work seems to carry a meaning with it… Is there something about scarves, in particular, that called to you or has a special meaning?
What I wanted to create was more than a simple fashion accessory. That is why I try to use words, images, illustrations to form a hybrid territory to build a conceptual wearable ”bridge” to connect a quality object capable of carrying Totem qualities.
Your art utilizes a wide variety of symbols. For example, on one scarf “My Little Pony” meets a classical Ancient Greek Caryatid. Talk to me about bringing together symbols from different eras… perhaps time is not so linear as we think, and art gives us a means to express things together that came about at different times but are somehow connected. Or, for you, is it more about the juxtaposition?
”A subconscious guidance” is responsible if I could use that term, for the results of my creative process. Of course, this particular process has already formed and continues to be built by my studies and personal research over the wide range of technical imagery. I usually don’t say ”now I want to juxtapose,” I usually start combining things and qualities to see what might happen. Some ”results” are irrelevant, some others are worth sharing and are the ones I apply to my silk canvas.
You speak four languages! So impressive. How does this influence your art?
I used to speak four languages 🙂 and I say that because each language needs practice in order for it to be spoken well… Luckily the art language is addressed in our senses and perception so there is no need to be fluent in linguistics 🙂
What do you wish people living outside of Greece knew about current Greek culture?
Greek current culture is rich in intelligent, hardworking talented people, but the Greek ”ground” is not so fertile anymore to be cultivated.
In your opinion, has the crisis fed the country creatively? How so, if yes?
Yes, it has! Greek entrepreneurship is blossoming (ok in a ground not so fertile as I said before)… I think in Greece it’s not that creativity that is missing, but there is a lack of resources and social stability.
Do you think it’s important for Greek artists, whether they reside in Greece or not, to identify with their Hellenism? Why or why not?
Artistically speaking I don’t think it is important unless there is a particular project involved. Generally, I think, and wish in a healthy version, that Hellenism defines Greek people even subconsciously. Even if you don’t want to identify with the Hellenism, it’s somehow flowing in our veins as part of our background. However, I believe more in the mixing or synthesis of cultures that comes from being open, restless and thirsty for knowledge and self-extension.