Artwork by Eleni Giannopoulou in the exhibition with Mexican video artist Tania Reza on view in Mexico City through April 29. Photo: Courtesy of the artist
MEXICO CITY – Greek artist Eleni Giannopoulou, born in Crete, spoke with The National Herald about her latest exhibition with Mexican video artist Tania Reza on view in Mexico City through April 29.
TNH: How did the project come together over the last two years?
Eleni Giannopoulou: The project started once I decided to create a larger than life bird mask, when I was living in Mexico City during the fall of 2021. It was an instinctual kind of creation and I invited the Mexican video artist Tania Reza to collaborate with me into directing a video-activation of the gigantic sculpture.
We moved the giant sculpture and filmed Harpías / Άρπυιες, a video collaboration between myself and Reza. The direction of photography was the work of Leslie Montero.
The wearable sculpture was made in a small room in Calle James Sullivan, a famous red light district of Mexico City. The video was directed and activated in an old rubber factory in the center of the city where a number of butoh dancers, a pregnant women, two young children and many more wore and activated the mask through stillness, the act of falling [self-inflicted balance], movement repetitions, tremblings and sounds whispered to oneself— concentration on a confined space reflecting the infinite. The acting, if any, was an assemblage of sign language, shadow theater and instinctive movement creatively con-fusing concepts of theater, play, and ritual.
We then presented the sculpture and the videos in the two-person exhibition.
During the exhibition’s opening days, I directed an improvisational performance with the collaboration of Choreographer/Performer Ana G. Zambrano, artist Darinko Chimal, and musicians: María G C Goded and Albania Juárez Rodríguez in an attempt to conjure the tension of the first form of Dionysian Theater Ritual, abandoning the “I” and collaborating to evoke the energy connected to instinctual movement, sound and ritual. There was a sculpture that was made to be burned during the performance. It was incredible to explore this kind of presentation of my work and I am thrilled with the idea of continuing to realize my visions through sculpture, installation, and theater.
TNH: Are there plans to bring this specific exhibition to the U.S.?
EG: The specific show will be exhibited in La Nao Gallery, Mexico City until April 29. I am in the process of producing a theater performance involving the bird Mask from the exhibition hopefully to be realized in NYC during the next few years.
TNH: What are you working on next?
EG: I am currently preparing my second larger than life Wearable Installation titled: Minotaur’s Daughter. I will be exhibiting an interactive installation in a collaborative exhibition with the artist Benjamin Craig opening in ZAZ10TS Gallery in July.
Also my most recent artist statement is:
Rooted in Crete, I was privileged to have deep connections with elements, raised with instinctual trust in one’s internal sensual nature. To provoke through interactive performative installations, sensations akin to my ancestors’ tradition of circular dances entangled with freedom— invoked within self-induced trembling [love] as an anguished relation to nature and oneself. Inviting the viewer to the Chaotic forms of humanness and cultivation of untutored curiosity while rejecting the illusion of one’s need for constant comfort and progress.—To escape programmed behavior by remaining erratic.
Inspired by Grotowsky’s poor theater, Artaud’s Reality insertions into the performative, and Japanese Gutai Ideology of embodiment, bodily Instrument, or Concreteness, connecting the world within a sole “collective spirit of individuality” where the principles of community consciousness are crucial, yet give way to individual paths.
My interest lies in instinctual, creative collaborations that overcome and reweave the conforming limits of the artist as an individual.
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