Nature, Land and Sea: three words that are very closely intertwined; they constitute the geographical foundation upon which, later on, different qualities and meanings are applied. Hence, other words that echo the previous mentioned process emerge, which imply new and different manifestations, such as  ‘natural’, ‘landscape’ and ‘seascape’.

Regardless of one’s personal appreciation of the surrounding’s pictorial rendering, it is critical to comprehend that any visual representation of nature is the result of a social construction that enables everyone who adheres to the same values to view the same things. In other words, the very essence of seeing is not only the result of an optical stimulus but the outcome of a cultural necessity that allows us to anticipate visual associations that never existed before.

This introductory passage is necessary in order to share the basis upon which the genre of landscape painting is explained and, thus, appreciated: a medium of such an importance that perhaps outshines other themes of depiction.

On the other hand, it is very likely that the visitors of this exhibition might expect something more typical and usual to their enshrined notion of a Greek landscape. The reason why this is said, it is because -in our time- we are able to state that the cultural exchanges are not limited to ideas, they include and induce glances. In the past, there were images, like sketches, lithographs, paintings, analogue pictures and movies. Nowadays, there are digital pictures, video clips and gifs. Yet, all these expressions are tied up and over-signified by the social media, which function not only as cyber-platforms but as the newly, universally formulated context of meaning and understanding.

It is in the oeuvre of Joanna Konstantinou that one has the opportunity not only to decodify her art pieces but to justify a reflection on issues such as the appropriation of one’s environment and the hidden political connotation of these landscape paintings.

  • What appears as a sympathetic depiction of an unspoiled part of Nature may very well be a human-made invention, if there are no exact replications of it.

  • Whatever is not there, namely something that could not reinforce one’s stereotypical opinion, is a break-free option from an overused pattern: an act of liberation from anything that substantiates the tourist industry.

  • Anything that could have caused curiosity or could reinforce pop images is absent. Nevertheless, it is an interesting idea of how the missing dictates the meaning.


The artist, a person of profound education, cultivation and sensitivity, handles a highly politicized type of cultural expression in her own, very personal, way. From the sheer choice of the applied technique that she uses to an Alps-type of habitat that she invents and does not care to slavishly imitate, there is definitely an intention to set a landscape far and away from the usual; to define the countryside and to refuse the adoption of certain images, thus restricting any possible appropriation.


It is very likely that one can assume that the underlined message is very obvious; that the bottom line is to go back to Nature. Notwithstanding that, can we question the motive? Are we able to suspect what the driving force is?


Apparently, the old Northern visual tradition of the so-called “Mystic North”, seems to propagate itself, mainly thanks to the altitude; regardless of the specificities and the particularities, the highly elevated ground, along with the pristine bio-diversity, constitute another social metaphor, a latent political premise.

Konstantino D. Basios

Art Historian - Political Scientist

Research Associate at the Lab of Political Communication in the University of Athens