Gazelli Art House continues its practice of presenting a wide range of international artists, featuring a broad and critically acclaimed program of exhibitions. This time, they are introducing the first solo exhibition by the Greek-born, London-based sculptor, painter and installation artist – Kalliopi Lemos. The versatile artist is known for her site-specific installations which are usually created with a narrative concerning with human rights. The show, entitled In Balance, will feature both new and old works, produced in a variety of different mediums. The artworks display a unique examination of day-to-day struggles, and the pursuit of personal freedom and, ultimately, self-fulfillment.
Having lived in Japan in her youth, Kalliopi Lemos acquired a fond sensation of the strange surroundings. The buildings, the gardens and the culture left a huge impression on her. She spent years studying Japanese flower arranging, and collected all sorts of books regarding the architecture. After settling down in the United Kingdom, the Greek-born artist designed her studio where she draws, sculpts and paints, in the style of a Japanese pavilion. Kalliopi Lemos studied painting and printing at Byam Shaw School of Art, where she also pursued post-graduate studies. The last decade of her craftsmanship consists of paintings, sculptures, and installations, mostly exploring the narrative of existential journeys, displacement and the politics of forced migration. Unfortunately, it would seem that these themes never stop being relevant and pressing issues in every culture, time period or place, and what Lemos aims to do with her artwork, is to decisively open a visual sphere of knowledge, perception and awareness into this reality. 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.
In the fast-paced, busy, modern world we live in, taking time to stop for a second and contemplate life has become a rarity, something that is often disregarded, when it should be much higher on our priority list. In Balance tries to explore the individual’s desire to attain an inner balance in such an increasingly pressurized world. Through her work, Lemos invites the visitor to ponder about life, consider thoroughly its dualities and pressures, and contemplate about the psychological and physical pain we all suffer in the quest for a conscious existence. The lower floor of the gallery will feature a set of vibrant seed-like sculptures, arranged on axes as if hanging from a scale. These responsive stainless steel sculptures have almost an interactive side to them, as they invite the viewer to move the rotation of the axis and play around with the stability of the works. The resulting interaction represents the always-shifting tension between male and female, aggressive and passive, action and inaction. Once more showing her influence from the distant land of Japan, a group of clay figurines wrapped in Japanese paper will be on display. The strained and tormented bodies signify those who struggle to find balance in an ever-demanding and changing world.
In the back room of the lower gallery, the award-winning video, At the Centre of the World, 2015, will be situated on display. The depicted woman is trapped inside a cage-like iron sphere, desperately struggling to break free and regain her balance as she’s found ‘at the center of the world’. After numerous unsuccessful attempts, the imprisoned subject finally realizes that she has to discover freedom and balance within the constricted structure. Perhaps the final acceptance of the woman poses the question of whether the cage and the entire context are all just a matter of perspective, rather than a factual state of things. But, it is best left to the viewers to contemplate, ponder about and discover the meaning for themselves, for that is the artist’s ultimate goal, after all. Kalliopi Lemos’ solo exhibition In Balance is on view 11 March – 24 April, 2016, at Gazelli Art House in London. The show will display a unique combination of Kalliopi’s old and new works, featuring sculptures, installations, and wax and oil paintings, followed with a series of wall sculptures with photographs made in 2012.
All images as credited
Featured images: Kalliopi Lemos - Stainless Steel Seeds, 2016, Courtesy of the artist and photographer Rowan Durrant; Kalliopi Lemos - In Balance, Yellow, Courtesy of the artist and photographer Rowan Durrant; Kalliopi Lemos - Stainless Steel Seeds, 2016, Courtesy of the artist and photographer Rowan Durrant; Kalliopi Lemos - Seed and Figures