Stella Baraklianou is a visual artist, working with photography and photographic installations. In her practice, she is interested in exploring the key component of photography: light itself. By combining materials of the photographic studio, such as reflectors, she utilises the language of the photographic studio to create installations. The recurrent reflective gold/silver creates her sets of ‘reversibles.’ Exploring themes of escapism and utopia, her memories of childhood beaches and growing up in Greece and Australia have influenced her practice.
Utopia can be understood in many different ways; in her research sources range from literature, poetry, sci-fi, especially J. G. Ballard and also the post- 80’s decadent glamour of the Greek holiday destination. Memories that arise from sitting in a sun-lounger and baking under a brilliant hot sun.
Excerpt from Karen Tobias-Green’s review of solo show “Island: the wind constantly” Set the controls for the Heart of the sun, Leeds, April - May 2017
“How do we create utopia? How do we reach it? And once there – how do we escape? These are the questions that preoccupy Greek born photographer and installation artist Stella Baraklianou and which she tries to resolve in her latest exhibition. In the installation, Baraklianou uses a reflective insulation material -called Mylar – to construct studio based reflectors that capture and explore the possibilities of light.
When exhibiting in New York in 2016 under the group title Photography is Magic, Baraklianou’s work was itself described as being ‘like magic.’ Finding her personal utopia on the hottest of beaches, pressed down upon by sun and surrounded by sand and dotted around by starfish and shells, Baraklianou constructs a real-time, studio-based utopia arising from a unique relationship between photography, light and stilling time. It is, ultimately, the semiotics of the sun lounger that unifies the installation. The solid frame, borrowed from a run of the mill sun lounger, symbolises the materiality of beach culture. The bright, brilliant body of the lounger is carefully and meticulously hand woven out of super reflective Mylar. It lies glamorously as if it were the illusory resting place of the citizen of utopia or the lonely seat of the stranded Island dweller.