OLYMPIA POLYMENI – TAΣΣEOGRAΦY
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SARTORIAL CONTEMPORARY ART
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Sartorial Contemporary Art is delighted to present an installation by Olympia Polymeni in her debut UK solo show
April 6th – April 29th, Private View: Wednesday April 6th, 7 – 9pm
. . .. . . …….. .. .
. .. . . . . Cycladic Torso 2010. Ink on paper, 35 x 27cm . .. .. . . . . The Elephant Woman 2010.Gloss on paper, 137 x102cm……… .. . . .. . . Torso I 2010. Acrlic on paper, 59 x 42cm ………
Polymeni’s work takes an unusual twist on the over-used motif of the female identity, explored through the metaphor of tasseography, or the art of fortune-telling by patterns of ground coffee on the surface of a white cup, that is still widely practiced in her native Greece. Polymeni has created a series of paintings and sculptures evocative of curvy female outlines as though formed by leftover coffee.
The traditional reading of the female body would have it reduced to the womb, a black hole leading to decay and death, irrational like fortune telling or like Polymeni’s uncannily disjointed bodies. Lumpy blacknesses acquire a presence of their own, as the texture of paint and sculptures of wax trigger off an intensely organic response, making the fragments of female bodies seem accidental and insignificant, as though they could have taken any other shape.
Polymeni interrogates and subverts the traditional notion of femininity reduced to confinement and “womanly” pastimes like “telling the coffee” in the afternoon just to while away the time. Not without irony, identity is represented as tragically dissipated with no hope to ever be whole again, constructed and refashioned over and over again by social norms and preconceptions. The female body eventually becomes a scene for political, social and existential statements.
Olympia Polymeni was born in Preveza, Greece in 1975. After graduating in philosophy, she studied painting at Athens School of Fine Arts and moved to London in 2009 to pursue her studies, earning an MA in Fine Art from Central St. Martins College in 2010. She lives and works in East London.
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2010 Sartorial Contemporary Art