House of Penelope
The House of Penelope is the physical outcome of 18 months of regular meetings between The Modern Penelope Collective, a group of curators and artists based mainly in London. Ideas, practices, contacts, support, techniques and encouragement were shared between this band of creatives with a discourse on the myth of Penelope running through as a recurrent theme.
Penelope is a mythological character from the Odyssey who has been an inspiration throughout time, known for her faithfulness and patience. Her story embodies concepts of waiting, longing and mourning, but the strongest element is her willpower which enabled her to resist against authority and protocol and allowed her independence through her intellect and her work.
Penelope’s husband is lost to her for 20 years, it is unknown whether he is alive or dead whilst he travels the world facing hardships and adversities, trying desperately to make his way home again after the Trojan war. She is under pressure to marry one of her many suitors and she makes the promise to do so the day she finishes sewing her father-in-law’s shroud. She refuses to be a spectator to her own destiny and through her guile and ability, she chooses to stand against this condition. In a very subtle manner, she spends her nights undoing what she has been weaving throughout the day. Penelope has wit and refuses to be defeated.
The curators of the project, Alix Janta-Polczynski and Lauren Jones, have requested that each of the artists that form part of the collective create a new installation in response to the rhetoric of the past 18 months. The majority of these works will have an evolutive aspect to them whereby the public are invited to watch the process of creation and in many cases, participate and contribute as well.
Penelope’s myth also embraces all of the concepts developed by Homer in the Odyssey. These notions include travel, perseverance, the initiative journey, spiritual growth, home and family, deceptions of reality and comradeship amongst many others, these themes can be witnessed throughout the exhibition and in particular in the group show featuring relevant works by artists selected by the collective.
With special thanks to The Gaia Art Foundation for their kind support.
Becky Allen, Charlotte Colbert, Adeline de Monseignat, Camilla Emson, Nancy Fouts, Alix Janta-Polczynski, Lauren Jones, Eloïse van der Heyden.
Also featuring artworks by Alice Anderson, Miriam Austin, Bea Bonafini, Inès de Bordas, Soojin Kang, Radhika Khimji, Romana Londi, Mariana Mauricio, Walter & Zoniel.
7th – 20th January 2017