Opening: Animalier with no taste for the sublime
Animalier with no taste for the Sublime, is an installation comprised of paper casts, styrofoam assemblages as well as decolorized fabric backdrops by Athens-based artist Anastasia Douka.
Anastasia Douka selects modern-day Athenian sculptures that portray emblematic figures of modern and ancient Greece -important or lesser known. Her practice process for this project, involves the paper casting of original sculptures in public space, thusly engaging sculpture with a performative aspect that addresses both the original artwork as well as her own action as an artist.
Douka choses to cast freely a fragment or the entirety of a bust, a torso or a head, her intention being to create an object hollow by nature and lightweight, contrasting the “heavy weight” originals (usually made of bronze, stone or marble). Materials found at the proximity of each sculpture (wrapping papers, posters, flower petals, plant leaves, bottle caps etc.) often become part of the work, altering the anatomy and texture of the original. The resulting paper casts with a slightly distorted shape and dried out skin are not intended to represent the social meaning inscribed to the original.
The selection of public sculptures discusses among other issues - such as replication, appropriation and function - the gender identity ascribed to the figures and symbols. Female figures are typically underrepresented and are usually commemorated for motherhood, beauty, labour, leadership, caretaking and nursing. A key figure in the exhibition is Athena Mesolora who served in the 19th century as the First Nurse of the Greek Red Cross, and she is portrayed wearing her uniform and headscarf in a marble bust at the courtyard of the hospital. The large fabric backdrops housing the casts, are marked by multiple geometric motives and repeated patterns of fragmented architectural and anatomical parts, narrating a metaphor for a city map and its landmark sculptures. The exterior of Athens belongs now to the interior. Anastasia Douka’s pieces –paper casts, fabric pieces, styrofoam sculptures and figurines transform the exhibition space to an inner landscape.