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To Her

Vana Xenou
To Her
May 10 - June 10, 2022

19 Patriarchou Ioakim
4th floor
10675 Athens

(+30) 210 7235 226

Opening Hours
Tue, Thu, Fr: 11.00-20.00
Wed, Sat: 11.00-16.00

About the artist

Vana Xenou was born in Athens in 1949. She studied painting and stage designing / School of Fine Arts in Athens (1968-1973). In 1973, she studied stage designing / École Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. She then pursued her studies in painting and mosaics / École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris (1974-1978), while simultaneously attended seminars on aesthetics and philosophy École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Université Paris 8, Vencennes (1974). Vana Xenou is currently an emeritus professor at the Department of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens. She was the candidate for Greece in 2008 for the «Women of Europe» award. On 2014, she was honoured by the French Republic with the title of the ‘Officer of the order of the Academic Palms’.

About the exhibition

“The twentieth century, more than any other, liberated the perception of both sexes as regards the gender and the body. It examined their identity against the female - male polarity and its role should not be dissociated from the very Nature of Art” - Vana Xenou

The artistic trajectory of Vana Xenou pursues the female presence. Taking the female nature as their starting point, her works move about through history. The artist goes deep into forms and symbols that have left an indelible mark on historical memory and social subconscious. She shapes the female archetypal figure, as is the case with the primordial Gaia-goddess in the depths of religious consciousness. She watches the different faces or masks, as they have been shaped by imagination and defined by the “adventure” of the antiquity and the “destruction” of tragic drama.

Her figures sometimes project the archetypal Mother-Daughter image and sometimes, just like young girls, they hint at or even foretell their transition to female maturity. The little girls in Lewis Carroll's photos put this child-woman duality on display. At the big table with the deities of the earth, viewers get the feeling that they are witnessing transformations of the original model which is perhaps found in the depths of the earth - where the occult and dark Eleusinian Mysteries used to take place.

Vana Xenou seeks the truth that is hidden in the body —naked or not— through myth and history, the course and the experience of women through the centuries. It is the large frieze with the lined-up bodies, which, most likely, is a reference to the friezes of ancient Greek temples.

From Demeter and Persephone of the Eleusinian myth to Eve of the book of Genesis, from Judith of the painting Judith Slaying Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi to Lucretia by Lucas Cranach and to Hildegard of Bingen, Vana Xenou introduces us to the depths and the mystery of an ever-transforming identity.