Using art to confront problems of the modern world is not a rarity. A lot of artists try to battle obstacles they see around them through their work. Inequality, racism, violence etc – for almost any problem you can come up with, at least a few artists are trying to put a stop to these difficulties of humanity. But few of them are as vigorous as Kalliopi Lemos whose artistic ferocity and rawness is only matched by her limitless imagination. Working primarily on sculptures, this Greek-born artist’s main subject is a narrative of concern for human rights. Her direct approach places her in trenches, declaring war to some of the most negative aspects of our contemporary existence.
Kalliopi had an excellent education before starting her versatile artistic career. She studied painting and printing at Byam Shaw School of Art, A University of the Arts in London, where she also pursued post-graduate studies. During this time, Lemos also dedicated herself to exploring the magical art of Ikebana, a world she knows probably better than anyone else. Another important guideline for her art came from the fact that Kalliopi spent a lot of her youth in Japan. The land of the rising Sun left an immense impact on Lemos and we doubt her art would be the same without the Japanese influence. The buildings, the gardens and the culture left a huge impression on her, but nothing marked her like Japanese flowers did. Her fascination with eastern herbs follows her still. After settling down in the UK, Kalliopi demanded that her studio be set up in a way that resembles Japanese interiors as much as possible.
Kalliopi mostly concentrates on her sculpting work, but she is not a stranger to drawing and painting either. There are some impressive installations attributed to her name as well. Her artwork displays a unique examination of day-to-day struggles and the pursuit of personal freedom. She also tackles the problem of the existential journey, an aspect of life we all struggle with from time to time. Lemos invites viewers to ponder about life and to realize just how much psychological and physical pain we all suffer in our lifetimes. It’s not hard to see many dualities in her work, mostly those like male-female and passive-aggressive. Most notable and impactful of all her pieces is a woman trapped inside a metal ball, named ironically The Sphere – At the Centre of the World. This horrific piece leaves us with a bitter taste for days to come after seeing it. Other impressive artworks Kalliopi made are Wooden Boat with Seven People, In Balance Stainless Steel Sculptures, Rites of Passage etc. A strong sense of pessimism in her art is quite apparent. All this work is amazing and available to see on her official website. The prolific artist has exhibited her work extensively in international venues, and art of Kalliopi Lemos can be found in numerous private collections and permanent displays.
Kalliopi’s work is one of those kinds of art that raise more questions than they answer. Her pieces make us question ourselves and force us to think about just how brutal our world can be. What Lemos aims to achieve with her artwork is to open a visual keyhole of knowledge, perception and awareness into harsh realities of our society – even into places we do not dare to look. Where we choose to ignore, Kalliopi marches right in. Something that lingers above Kallipi’s craftsmanship is a fact that all these problems we face every day are probably not solvable. Lemos makes sure she points them out, but as for solving them – well, that’s a whole different ballgame.
The artist is represented by Gazelli Art House in London, England.
Featured Image: Kalliopi Lemos – The sphere – Photo Credits The Wallpaper
All images used for illustrative purposes only.
|2016||Kalliopi Lemos: In Balance||Gazelli Art House, London, UK||solo|
|2016||Culturelines Sans Frontieres||ARTinTRA, Athens, Greece||group|
|2016||Wispers||Museum of Contemporary Art Crete, Greece||group|
|2015||I Am I Between Worlds and Between Shadows||loakimion Greek Girls’ High School, Fener, Istanbul, Turkey||solo|
|2015||At the Centre of the World||Nitra Gallery, Thessaloniki, Greece||solo|
|2015||Wispers||Museum of Contemporary Art Crete, Greece||group|
|2015||Moving Image||Istanbul, Turkey||group|
|2014||Pledges, site-specific installation||Byzantine & Christian Museum, Athens, Greece||solo|
|2013||I Am I Between Worlds and Between Shadows||loakimion Greek Girls’ High School, Fener, Istanbul, Turkey||solo|
|2013||Passages of Substance||Byzantine & Christian Museum, Athens, Greece||solo|
|2012||Encountering Less-Remembered Lives||@ a.antonopoulou.art gallery, Athens, Greece||solo|
|2011||Navigating in the Dark, Part I||Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece||solo|
|2011||Navigating in the Dark, Part II||Ibrahim Khan Mosque, Fortezza, Rethymno, Crete, Greece||solo|
|2011||Navigating in the Dark, Part III||Crypt Gallery, St Pancras Church, London, UK||solo|
|2011||Polyglossia, Stegi Grammaton & Texnon||Onassis Foundation, Athens, Greece||group|
|2009||At Crossroads, Brandenburg Gate||Akademie der Kunste, Berlin, Germany||solo|
|2009||Πορθμεία||Old Olive Factory, Eleufsina, Greece||solo|
|2008||Transitions||BM Suma, Istanbul, Turkey||solo|
|2007||Round Voyage, santralistanbul||Bilgi University, Istanbul, Turkey||solo|
|2006||Πορθμεία||Old Olive Factory, Eleufsina, Greece||solo|
|2006||Rites of Passage||Pinakotheke of Cyclades, Syros, Greece||solo|
|2004||Artists’ Books||ICA, London, UK||group|
|1999||Kalliopi Lemos||Angela Flowers Gallery, London, UK||solo|