In The Studio #189 Sofia Kouloukouri

preparing POIDS LIBRES, 2019

preparing POIDS LIBRES, 2019

POIDS LIBRES : ENTRAINEMENT POUR AMATEURS, performance, 2019, photo credits Claire Mayet



LE PRINCIPE, video triptych, 2019, photo credits Dylan Perrenoud

LE PRINCIPE, video triptych, 2019

My work has two poles, endurance and narrative. In it, ancient techniques evoking the eternal life of minerals, such as ceramics and stone, coexist with contemporary media such as drone videos, arduino circuits and performance.
Endurance concerns mainly the performative aspect of the works as well as its central theme, weight. My first performance was a public ‘workout’ (Poids libres, Cornavin station, Geneva) with free weights that I had carved myself in limestone and soapstone. Weights, literal or metaphorical, borne by the female body are a constant in my work. They can be traced back to the fundamental education of girls, myth, and Christian doctrine, which are all linked somehow to my Greek heritage. My most recent projects (The Principle and Eve: my side of the story) draw on these archetypes to make a re-appropriation of the Book of Genesis focusing on the character of Eve the mother of all humanity. In most cases my texts, short phrases or theatrical monologues, diary entries, fictional user manuals, appropriation of renowned fictions, instructions for mapping a terrain, or even an entire novel, involve ‘autofiction’. In an intimate confessional tone or an elaborate novelistic one my narratives point at female characters voicing their opinions on art, life and ‘couple politics’. 
Another aspect of my work, this time in collaboration with performance artist Vana Kostayola, is an interest in feminine rituals of reclaiming power (real or spiritual). In that vein, our recent project Women Telling the Future united Greek women practicing divination, with a traditional; non commercial ritual, cafedomancy – the reading of the future in coffee grounds. In a succulent neo-oriental salon the public was offered a randez-vous with an oracle. The performance apparatus was set so that several cultural reflexes between « the East and the West » materialized, as open concepts, without being staged. Amongst them, the  representation of women (especially subjects qualifying as exotic) in classical occidental painting and the way neoclassical art embraces ancient Greek ideals with soft, feminine passivity remains in the heart of our interests, all the more as it contrasts both with the role of the female artist, and that of the witch.
Fascinated by the texture and technique of materials such as stone, ceramics or textile, I am very engaged in the strenuous process of making the works myself, thus dealing with different types of crafts(man)ship as well as the gendered histories accompanying them. 

Be it in ‘‘old media’’ or ‘‘new media’’ my work is a material exploration of fragility and solidity as vectors of female identity.

Sofia Kouloukouri lives and works between Geneva and Athens.