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PETRONELLA OORTMAN by Katerina Zacharopoulou

Dates happen: 26/05/2011 ... 26/06/2011 Katerina Zacharopoulou
8 video-frescos and 1 installation

Paradisos Baths (Bey Hamam)

Exhibition duration: 26.05 – 26.06.2011
Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday 19:00-22:00 | Saturday-Sunday: 10:00-14:30 |
Closed on Monday

Opening: Thursday 26.05.2011 at 20:00 until 22:00.

The work “Petronella Oortman” by Katerina Zacharopoulou is a modular visual narrative of scenes from the life of a woman into the constructed world of a doll-house. Inspired by the original Dolls’ House belonging to Petronella Oortman (created at 1690, exhibited today at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), Katerina Zacharopoulou’s domestic scenes consist of an assortment of personal Mementos, photographs and decorative objects.
Cut from their initial frame of reference, they become the components of a claustrophobic scenery that hovers between reality and fairy tale, dream and nightmare.
Several different mental and emotional processes happen inside there (reading, walking, cleaning, waiting, contemplation, nail cutting, writing). The woman’s behaviour is sometimes distinguished by a calm mood of introspection and sometimes moving in the boundaries of obsession and mental disorder.
The project was designed as an in situ installation, especially for the space of Paradisos Baths (Bey Hamam). The video-performances that take place in rooms incorporate with the Ottoman architectural monument as a reinvestment of space memory; they set a path, with no logical sequence between acts, gestures, attitudes and behaviours that define the identity of gendered subjectivity. The artist chooses to masquerade in order to appropriate and dramatize the roles experienced. Zacharopoulou’s work uses with structural elements of the domestic environment in the process of subjectivity formation: the house "creates" its occupant the same way the occupant constructs her house.
This is a collective process of another order, supplementary, largely unseen and least documented in the official historical narrative: next to the large private collections of noble men, rulers and bourgeois, slips an assortment of undervalued, cheap miniatures, exiled in the field of “folk”, bad taste and mass reproduction, elements that Katerina Zacharopoulou rehabilitates to her oeuvre: reversing the scales, she attaches to this microcosm new, monumental dimensions, unveiling their crucial roles in order to shape the psyche and the artistic creation:
I open up this Cabinet, to get the “small” things out of it, I enlarge them with my imagination, I try to release them from the stereotype of "souvenirs", I try to illuminate those words still asleep. I want to justify the practice of the "private collection" as a need, next to the "great collections" of the modern world. I have no intention to create an archive or to teach anything, I do not intent to add anything further to the meaning of the existing artwork. I am not working in the laboratory, but “at Home”, where it all happens, and cohabit with my need to create a balance between the everyday and the imaginary. Without all this, there is no comfort in art”.
The project Petronella Oortman by Katerina Zacharopoulou brings forward questions that constitute the core of the Contemporary Art Centre’s problematic, to an exhibitional, as well as a theoretical level and orientation, such as the distinction between the public and the private sphere, the construction of gender subjectivity and the significance of memory –both personal and collective- to the artistic practice.
This project at the Paradisos Baths - Bey Hamam is realized thanks to the kind permission of the 9th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities.

Curator: Syrago Tsiara, Director of the CACT
Production: Contemporary Art Centre of Thessaloniki
With the collaboration of the 9th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities

Media sponsor: ελculture.gr