CM: Yiannis Melanitis' Kassandra is a 'bio-technological' portrait of the renowned daughter of King Priam and legendray seer of unfortunate events, such as the catastrophe of Troy and the destruction of the House of the Atreids. According to ancient Greek mythology Kassandra was endowed with the capacity to foresee the future with the aid of a couple of snakes that licked her ears. In keeping with the myth, the licking of the ears enabled them to translate the divine sounds which exist in nature, such as the voices of animals, and especially of birds. Kassandra had an immediate relation with animals and could speak like a bird, as mentioned in Aeschylus' Agamemnon (l. 1050). Particularly after Kassandra's refusal to have an affair with Apollo, she suffered the curse of her prophecies to be distorted and to be unintelligible by people. Therefore, the ear that corresponds to the invisible side of the face in this drawing is placed apart of Kassandra's head, and represents her prophecy in distortion. Melanitis renders Kassandra as a contemporary and independent woman, who apprehends the pessimistic omens of our time, but no one is eager or willing to hear.
The form of Kassandra references the painter's collaborator, Katerina Papageorgiou, and this take is executed from memory. Melanitis is not interested in description, but rather in the myth's re-constitution within a framework that is timeless and unidentifiable, and which could be archaic or futuristic. The paper of Gmund brand, with its slight phosphorescence, represents sulphur's miraculous capacity to re suscitate energy. The very fine writing of the particular Pentel ballpoint-pen brings the drawing near the borders of de-materialization. The execution of the drawing is abrupt and gives this drawing the feel of slashes by a fine knife. According to Melanitis, "such drawing does not describe, but rather 'is', which goes to say it endows Kassandra with 'existential' quality".
[Megakles Rogakos 12/2006]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Silent Dialogues: Multimedia Portraits Throughout Time 2008 The American College of Greece, Athens