art art studio_Syros
29 Ιουνίου 20022 | Σκάλες Δημαρχείου Ερμούπολης, πλατεία Μιαούλη
Tribute to 21 women killed. By men.
This time away from the urban landscape
On the island of Syros.
Every semiology created is ready for interpretation.
By all of us.
I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind. - Αnne Sexton (1960)
In Sophocles’ tragedy the main hero Aiantas declares that “ a man’s life is worth much more than the lives of a thousand women ” which provokingly defines the image of a woman’s position in antiquity ( in society in ancient times ) In the present day we are bombarded with images of violence manifested (manifestation), with extreme behaviors, directly or indirectly, when an incident goes awry in private. Culminating in the act of murder.
The woman’s murder.
One of the major issues facing Greek society is feminicide. EYsterA# is a new hybrid title/symbol (derived from the psychoanalytic terminology of the Ysteria-uterus and from the archetypal EYA (Eve) as well as the hashtag which is a point of reference and of solidarity for digital media and times) which takes the form of personal conceptual execution, a performance.
The artist Elena Tonikidi alone in 12 hours of mystagogy and performance, 12 Hierarchies of ancient writings which in turn determine the 12 constellations of the zodiac cycle, 12 pairs of nerves (cerebral conjugations), 12 ribs of the thorax and the fingers of Anne Sexton, the feminist poet, when she declares that she wanders around, out her mind, in the midst of night exorcising the monster of patriarchal danger.
With 21 miniature head busts –representations of women whose lives were lost unjustly- intertwined with a symbolic thread of remembrance of life that vanished violently and ghastly.
We are in an imaginary feminicide execution room.
Using the human body as the main driving force, the performance aims to create a narrative web depicting the absence of the women lost due to “family” behind the scenes.
From the sunrise and the sunset the artist pays her inner self, a homage to the women that were lost. Searching for the truth linking the abused women via their environment, their social status and the stereotypes whereby the threat unfolds which we are destined to live as women. Outrageous beauty becomes fear and fear becomes hope. The sheet, the shroud, the scarf, the prayer book touch our psyche each time like secret writings of silence, like dismantled symbols that divulge, expose and take apart nature, female nature. “Carrying” the body in its protective shell, this membrane, as an instrument which restricts the artist in creating a play/ installation on a personal yet global “neutral space”
The yarn-fabric, the knot turns into a protective cocoon which is coherent and is the transformable material that protects us. Experience, memory, place. Of violence, of abuse. Memories, truth, dreams, feelings, the safe and warm, the memory, the poetry, the literature, life, feelings. Ritually unfolded. Confrontations, the truth of violence.
This “intermediate space “ between Woman and Other is reflected in every symbolism. Simultaneously the woman’s unconscious self becomes three dimensional with her mute expression, body language which “speaks” capturing the self-woman breaking, disconnecting, melting, sinking. Contrary to the blank stare that technology imposes, the power of embodiment yet the deed of knitting co-exists with distancing of sight.
The concept of woman, the womb- along with a hashtag which signifies solidarity acquires another archetypal dimension, yet not fetishistic. A violent self- harming autobiographical, masochistic performance, challenges the issue of a sexual glance to the female human body.
The artist’s personal anguish, the exhausting dedication to manual labor declares her faith in self cleansing of a woman via a painful ritual almost romantic and ultimately utopian.
Following the footsteps of a great generation of feminist performers, Elena
Tonikidi with one stroke, “political”, which belongs to the field of gender anthropology, turns the body into a transmitter and receiver of socio-political experiences.
Because according to her "even if we choose to remain isolated in
our own boxes, not wanting to be seen by Others as we try to avoid
being seen by Others...we must take a stand on the issue of feminicide".
Instability, insecurity in woman, oppression and finally the crime and her death ,the fight for rights, hopes, healing of wounds and rifts has the potential to be reconstituted through the collective dimension of a mystical female compilation such as EΥsterA #.
Although Sophocles clashed with social stereotypes of his time and expressed negative quantitative image of the woman, the first ‘Eve #’ in Hesiod’s Theogony,Pandora, were along with fire, the first most important elements of nature, the principles leading the human being away from its primitive state towards its course to history and culture.
For all those women who were in pain. And were lost.
Margarita Kataga, Art Historian