The Breeder is pleased to present Chrysanne Stathacos’s (b. 1951) first solo presentation in Greece. Titled Pythia, the show consists two works: The Pythia’s Rose Mandala, along with documentation of a collaboration with artist Hunter Reynolds, the performance The Banquet (1992).
The Pythia’s Rose Mandala is exhibited in the gallery’s ground floor. The Rose Mandala series was originally created to be presented to the Dalai Lama in 2006 for his visit at the University of Buffalo; the Mandalas have been featured in numerous international exhibitions such as AA Bronson’s Garden of Earthly Delights, Kunstverein Salzburg, 2015; Sacre du Printemps, Kunstverein Graz, 2015; The Temptation of AA Bronson, Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, 2013 and will also be included in AA Bronson’s upcoming exhibition at KW Institute of Contemporary Art Berlin in 2018.
The titular “Pythia” is a censer, placed in the center of the installation and referencing the tripod structures used in ancient Delphi by female oracles. For Stathacos, these bronze structures reference ancient female spirituality – the oracle that prophesies the future and also heals certain pasts. Her use of the Pythia is an act of feminist reclamation of this spiritual ancestry.
This installation is initiated and concluded by a time-based performative ritual. Departing from the historical mandala structure, Stathacos plucks dozens of roses apart petal by petal, laying them in a circular formation around a colored mirror, at the center of which stands a Pythia censer. Stathacos invites her audience to participate in the place-setting ritual by engaging them in conversation throughout. This has been described by AA Bronson as an act of ‘public service’. The space is redolent with the scent of roses. Throughout the exhibition these petals are left to dry and although the mandalas maintain their colour, they gradually reduce in size. What remains of the dried-up mandala is swept away as a closing ritual at the end of the exhibition.
In the basement Stathacos’s seminal collaborative work The Banquet with Hunter Reynolds (aka Patina du Prey) is screened. First performed at Thread Waxing Space in 1992, it was largely inspired by Surrealist Meret Oppenheim’s Spring Feast, in which a banquet was presented on the body of a nude woman. Andre Breton later encouraged Oppenheim to re-enact Spring Feast for the Paris Exhibition entitled Exposition InteR natiOnale du Surrealsime (the last joint exhibition of the Surrealist group). In The Banquet, Stathacos and Reynolds have inverted Oppenheim’s original event by substituting a nude man for the woman, blatantly confronting issues of male dominance throughout (art) history.
Born in Buffalo, New York, and based between Athens and Toronto, Stathacos brings together performance, installation and video in various formats, creating participatory projects, aiming to make new connections between cultures, historical periods, technologies and environmental issues. At the heart of Stathacos’s work is a deep commitment in examining and reconfiguring the patriarchal history and histories developed through feminist perspective of art and society. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, Stathacos was active in the Toronto artist-run community, curating projects for A-Space including Terminal Building and Hallwalls/ A Space Exchange. She co-founded The Gap, a performance art space with Martin Heath, Colin Lochhead, Elke Town, and David Buchan. In the late 1970s Stathacos became associated with the art collective General Idea, eventually moving to New York and sharing a studio with the group’s founders, AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal. She founded Expanded Art Ideas, an innovative art education program for Artists’ Space, NYC and directed the program until 2016. She launched MOMMY, a website celebrating women artists with artist Susan Silas in 2011. She is a founding Director of Dongyu Gatsal Ling Initiatives, a nonprofit organization that works to help Tibetan Buddhist women practitioners in India and Tibet, inspired by the life work of Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo.
Selected exhibitions include: 1-900 Mirror Mirror, The Breeder, Frieze NYC, 2017, premiered as a solo show at Andrea Rosen Gallery New York 1993/ The Banquet: Ephemera Office Enterprise in collaboration with Hunter Reynolds, Participant Inc. NYC, 2017, first exhibited at Thread Waxing Space, 1992/ The Wish Machine, Grand Central Station under the auspices of Creative Time Inc., 1997 / Pythia’s Warm Breath in Oracle Drawings, Parliament of Bodies, Documenta 14, 2017 curated by Paul B. Preciado and Sozita Goudouna / AA Bronson’s Garden of Earthly Delights, Kunstverein Salzburg, 2015. Sarce du Printemps, Kunstverein Graz, 2015. The Temptation of AA Bronson, Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, 2013 / The Abortion Project, a collaboration with Kathe Burkhart, Artists Space, Simon Watson Gallery, Real Art Ways, Hallwalls and New Langton Arts between 1990 and 1993. Stathacos’ s work is included in numerous public collections, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; Castellani Art Museum, Lewiston; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; and the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester. Stathacos has received awards from the Art Matters Foundation, the Japan Foundation and the Adolph & Esther Gottlieb Foundation.
Hunter Reynolds (1959) is a visual artist, AIDS activist, and Visual AIDS artist member. He was an early member of ACT UP, and in 1989 co-founded Art Positive, an affinity group of ACT-UP to fight homophobia and censorship in the arts. Reynolds recently received the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. He is represented by P.P.O.W., NYC.
Chrysanne Stathacos, Rose, Mirror, Mandala of Three Reflections, The Aura Project, 754x453 cm