- 12—30.09, 01—10.10.2020
On the windows of Les Brigittines
The Glass Menagerie is a duo exhibition bringing together photographic works by Despina Spyrou and VASKOS, exhibited for the first time in Brussels. As in the eponymous memory play by Tennessee Williams its starting points are the blending of reality and fiction though art and the representation of truth in a creative –not strictly realistic–way.
Despina Spyrou (b. Athens, 1979) shoots non-stop everyday life and friends. She shares Susan Sontag’s view that “to take a photograph is to participate in another person's mortality, vulnerability, mutability”. Printed in large-scale format, her photographs (and their titles) underline the stark fact of the subject: whether it is a naked female body contained in the window under the roof of an old hotel somewhere in Ireland (Ariane, 2014) or women’s underwear hanging in the windows of a dimly-lit Brooklyn flat (Bra, 2011). These photos, either staged or not, are consistently realistic representations, but at the same time they have a feerie feel and a dreamlike quality. This unreal rendering of reality alludes to the elusiveness of our lives, creating larger-than-life images.
The photographs of VASKOS (duo formed by VASsilis Noulas and KOStas Tzimoulis in 2014 in Athens) are part of a series of digitally processed images. They consist of two photographs put together: one of them poses while the other handles the camera, then they swap places. The photos are taken in spaces where they have lived in, briefly or more permanently: friends’ flats, their flats in Exarchia (Birds on the purg’, 2014) or hotel rooms (Goodbye, 2015). The theatrical game of duality and mirroring evolves around the idea of the ‘home-workshop’, the ‘home-studio’: "the home that is constantly being transformed, shifting from the familiar to the uncanny and back again" in the duo's words. This playful transformation confronts the viewer with hybrid domestic spaces and unsettling tableaux vivants.
Both participating artists transform and transcend reality in closed settings, creating new worlds somewhere between the real and the imaginary. They give us “truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion”, pointing to our own ‘Glass Menageries’.
Despina Spyrou (b. Athens, 1979) is a freelance photographer living between Athens and Brussels. A graduate of FOCUS School of Photography and Visual Arts in Athens, she has collaborated with institutions such as the Onassis Cultural Centre, the New Museum of Acropolis and the Hellenic Festival. She has worked as a set photographer for Athina Rachel Tsangari's films Attenberg (2010) and The Capsule (2012), Richard Linklater's film Before Midnight and Yorgos Lanthimos's film The Lobster (2014). This is the first time her work is shown in Belgium.
VASKOS (a word formed from the first letters of the names of its initiators) is an artistic duo formed by Vassilis Noulas and Kostas Tzimoulis in Athens in 2014. It explores various media, such as performance, photography, drawing, video and ceramics, and has been presented under the forms of lecture-performances, exhibitions and publications in different frames, including self-organized spaces, apartments, squats and galleries. It is its first exhibition in Belgium.