Photo: Stathis Mamalakis
«LANDS/SexLife»: solo show by Lito Kattou at opbo studio, curated by Ioanna Gerakidi
The independent art space opbo studio announces the opening of Lito Kattou’s solo exhibition titled “LANDS/SexLife”, curated by Ioanna Gerakidi, on Friday, June 30th at 8 pm. In LANDS/SexLife, Kattou ponders and expands on the characteristics and symbolisms of the mantis as a species encountering life through survival, sex through shielding, resistance through cannibalism. Through a new body of work consisting of reliefs and other sculptural gestures, Kattou traces the circularity of time as an a-chronical structure, the fatality appended on the femme identity as a parable for protecting life and the landscape as a means for altering the dominant geopolitical narratives.
In LANDS/SexLife, the otherworldly, the uncanny, and the infinite are being mapped, inviting the audience to experience it as an act of seduction revealing other desires, sexes, successes, and safe spaces. In the exhibition opening, this parallel and unexplored universe will be activated through an ongoing performance that engages with Kattou’s reliefs, functioning as a mantra for the audience’s entry into the omniversal world.
Lito Kattou (Nicosia, 1990) is a visual artist based in Athens. Her works negotiate understandings of materiality and subjectivity through a composition of practices, spanning from digital fabrication to thermochemical elaborations. Her practice raises questions around the relationship between humans, animals, the environment and technology, symbiosis and alterity.
Kattou is the recipient of the Ducato Prize 2019 and the New Positions Award for Art Cologne 2018 and she has been the invited artist at the Fonderia Battaglia, Fondation Thalie Brussels, Art Hub Copenhagen, PCAI Contemporary Art Initiative and 89 plus Google residencies. Recent solo shows have been presented at Fondazione Pomodoro, ICA Milano, TRANEN Copenhagen, Duarte Sequeira Gallery Braga, T293 Rome, Artothek Cologne, Benaki Museum Athens, Point Centre for Contemporary Art Nicosia. Among her activity she has participated in various group shows in museums, galleries and art spaces as at SAVVY Contemporary Berlin, the Onassis Foundation, in the Athens Biennale 7, the National Gallery Sofia, Culturgest Porto, Fidelidade Arte Lisbon, Ludwig Muzeum Budapest, Nottingham Contemporary, Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler Berlin, Benaki Museum and Deste Foundation, Athens.
Make up / hair styling: Sofia Kossada
Performers: Eleni Alexopoulou, Anna Anoussaki, Leda Dalla, Stavros Kastrinakis, Konstantina Barkouli, Rafael Sidiropoulos, Georgina Choleva
LANDS/SexLife curatorial text:
there’s an insect
that in order to survive
eats their partner after sex
the females do so to protect
it’s called mantis religiosa
-from the greek word mania-
another story imposing
a feminised act of rage
a rereading on the female identity
that mantises are in the same category as cockroaches
do you know what Audre Lorde writes about roaches
“call me your deepest urge toward survival”*
For her solo exhibition LANDS/SexLife and through a new body of work, Kattou ponders and expands on the characteristics and symbolisms of the mantis as a species encountering life through survival, sex through shielding, resistance through cannibalism. By exposing a series of reliefs tracing the circularity of time as an a-chronical structure, the fatality appended on the femme identity as a parable for protecting life and the landscape as a means for altering the dominant geopolitical narratives, Kattou’s new body of work aims to utter, write or compile the intangible documents required for making a cartography of the otherworldly, the uncanny, the infinite.
In this series of works, the relief, a word coming from the Latin verb relevo, meaning to raise, acts as a repetitive, yet not identical scheme, which when seen as a mantra enlivens our potential to exist in an omniversal world. And it’s precisely through this activation of a parallel current that we, audiences, are led to the unknown, to the seductive qualities of what has never been encountered before, erotically and otherwise. In one of her recent interviews, Tina Campt writes about what it takes to “think things together, synaesthetically”; she invites us to listen to the sound of paintings, look at the scenes of sonic pieces, touch the smell of the bodies occupying the space. This multilayered activation of being and interacting with our surroundings is what LANDS/SexLife is suggesting.
And along with the works navigating us through a linear, yet mythical narrative, acting not only as gestural promises, but as agents carrying the mantises’ psyches, there’s a human presence, even in its absence. Lethargic bodies, enchanted by the spells, the whispering voices of mantises, are experiencing the pleasure of being static, of occupying a revealing inertia. Their structured lives, schedules, postures have dissolved; the magnetic qualities of a capsule pausing all of the world’s accelerations has stimulated another kind of alienation. One, that allows a withdrawal from a violent, canonical, systemic attachment. Their performative gestures only last for a few hours; yet the traces of their metamorphosis will always be present in the space, blessing the depths of dissonance.
LANDS/SexLife longs to be lived as an ethereal inquiry, asking the questions: What does it take to reframe the habitual orbits in order to find other types of the celestial? How can we look at and with the unearthly and the numinous, not as intimidating schemes but as seductive acts divulging other desires, sexes, successes and safe spaces?
*excerpt from the text “Μα ακόμα δεν χόρτασαν;” by Ioanna Gerakidi published in 2021 for the occasion of Lito Kattou’s exhibition Myriad worlds of Ours, T293 x Paganico Sabino