Eleni Koroneou Gallery is pleased to present the new work of Eirene Efstathiou in her first solo exhibition. Efstathiou was born 1980 in Athens, where she currently lives and works.
Eirene Efstathiou uses as the basis for her work both found images - from television, films, the press, public or private archives - and also her own photographs from her own wanderings in the city and the living spaces of people familiar to her. She searches for images of thresholds between public and private space, demarcations of territory, separation barriers and unintentional sites of memory and history. She then classifies the selected images into new archives, reproduces them by painting or drawing and finally arranges them into series. Her painting technique is deeply inspired by her source material, she mimics in paint the inevitable breakdown that happens to the image as it undergoes so many transformations as a way to describe the mediations of memory and nostalgia. Efstathiou does not use the principle of the archive as a strict hierarchical taxonomy of knowledge, rather in assembling this material, she is interested in what kind of narratives can emerge from a collection of images that are variations of the same subject. In this way she attempts to open up a dialogue regarding the past, seeking to describe an informal version of the facts and to conjure a narration placed beyond the limits of a linear perception of history: a narration related to our own personal experiences.
In the present exhibition Iera Odos/ Revisited Eirene Efstathiou presents a series of works in various media, which include paintings and archives of photographs, drawings and audio documents. The works in the exhibition emerged from a series of wanderings and the ‘residence” of Eirene Efstathiou in the public space of Iera Odos. She did not choose the specific road by chance but rather was intrigued by the possibility of the kinds of traces that might be visible along this sacred way, suffused such as it is with history and lore. Following a situationist cartographic practice, Efstathiou describes her encounters with the street Iera Odo as a type of inhabiting because this implies a kind of intimacy with the place. As her map she chose two works from the middle 60’s America – Thomas Pynchon’s novel The Crying of Lot 49 and Bob Dylan’s album Highway 61 Revisited, which describe a space suffused with late 60’s America but not corresponding to any real geography. Using these works as ‘maps’ allowed her to view the historical circumstances of the road as ‘pure paranoia,’ as a distorted reality that may never have existed. As an earnest cartographer on Iera Odo, her intention was to trace ruin and make a map of fissures.
Eirene Efstathiou has participated in numerous group exhibitions in Europe and the United States. Most recently, Customer/Value/Service at the Project Room of the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens (2010), Public Private Paintings in Mu.Zee in Ostend (2010), The Perpetual Dialogue at Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York (2009-2010), Paint-id, as part of the the 2nd Biennial of Thessaloniki at Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki (2009), the exhibition Selective Knowledge in collaboration with ITYS at the Institute for Contemporary Art and Thought in Athens (2008) and the Portland Biennial at the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine (2007). In 2009 she was the winner of the DESTE prize, Deste Foundation, Athens, Greece.