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„What has me halt in front of a picture by Elena Strubakis?

Let me go back and tell the story of how my body moved here, a story about halting still. How do pictures solidify, how to they emerge in the first place, how do I keep them from vanishing again before my eyes?

I sit on the bank and wait. In the distance, some kids are jumping up and down, apparently by some rule. Right, in Vienna it is called "Tempelhupfen" – jumping along a grid that has been drawn on the asphalt with crayons, an old game known for millennia. I try to capture the patterns they draw into the air – in vain, as it is gone immediately.

I stop as a crane unloads huge stone plates, carefully, and ask the overseer what this is about, as I have not seen something like this before. They are gravestones from the old Jewish graveyard. After restauration they are being put back into the ground by one third, they are safe now. A safety that does not calm one's mind.

At the museum, I stop in front of a Greek vase.
Grieving soldiers circling around the fallen hero, from Ilias.

Much later, I am surprised to read that the realization of a far distant scene does not pose a problem only for us, who are contemporarily familiar with the myth, but did so already for a late Greek theorist, Pseudo-Longinos, on Sicily in the age of Emperor Augustus.

"Father Zeus, o release from the dark night the Achaeans!/Clear up the sky for us, grant us the use of our eyes,/And let us die in the light most importantly!/"

Aias is begging for light to find an end worthy of his manhood, even if that meant he had to fight Zeus himself. "In Homer's Odyssey the poet provides proof that a each great mind is always injected with the desire to tell tales." (Aesthetics of Ancient Greece, Joachim Kruger, Berlin 1983)

The fact that we often can keep the things and works that we perceive as important only as a marking of our memory, as a vignette – that is to what Elena Strubakis's art is calling my attention. It does not mean, however, that those vignettes have the last word – she keeps the entrance to the world of myth open, its constant visualization. When we look at pictures on vases, we miss to think about what those vessels once kept inside: grain, wine or ashes.

So I stop and take another look at Elena Strubakis's pictures, this time with greater determination, within the time that has been given to me.”

DDr. Werner Reiss