Curated by Christiana Galanopoulou
May 5 – June 25, 2011
APOMONOPTICON is the third solo show of Eleni Panouklia. A distinguished graduate from Athens School of Fine Arts, Panouklia has participated in various group projects in Athens. She became known for her site-specific installations as well as for her small and large scale drawings that strongly depict a personal trait. In previous exhibitions she got attached to the relation between the single unit and the whole. Specifically, the artist explored the connection of a distinct point within an entire picture, along with the dimensions of the emotional and mental world.
The installation APOMONOPTICON, expresses her problematics upon the enclosure of contemporary man, which results from the governing of a system of control and the corresponding defense mechanisms that each of us creates. Her theme indirectly alludes to the agitation between the individual and the state, private and public, something that we experience constantly, especially the past few years.
For this installation Panouklia is inspired by the architecture and theory of «Panopticon» which was developed by Jeremy Bentham in 1785. Proposing a circular construction of prisons, the architectural design allows the observer to inspect the prisoners from a point of view that cannot be distinguished from the incarcerated, thus it creates the feeling to the prisoner that he is constantly being watched thus submitting himself. Orwell’s 1984 and the recent invention of Big Brother resonates with Bentham’s theory for the «Panopticon».
The limits and the excess of extreme isolation and enclosure appear in Eleni Panouklia’s work. Exploring something that is not directly visible, she often creates indistinct structures that are well hidden, such as «active» or «non-active» areas according to the artist, that is accessible or non-accessible areas. The interactive aspect of the installation APOMONOPTICON plays a central role, because while the viewer enters into the accessible areas, he activates certain elements affecting in this way the actual work.
The installation APOMONOPTICON is an architectural system of accessible and non-accessible cells. It is an experiential interactive work which mainly operates with the sensation of sound and light. APOMONOPTICON places the viewer in the position of the observed and at the same time in the authoritarian position of the observer. However, Panouklia reforms the space by deciphering the access of an inescapable enclosure. In order to comprehend the structure of the system, the spectators need to collaborate with each other playing different roles, something that breaks the chains of the confinement.
The sound design of the installation is by Sofia Kamayianni.
Eleni Panouklia (b.1972, Agrinion, Greece) completed her postgraduate studies in Sculpture on a scholarship she received from the Greek State Scholarship Foundation (2007). She studied painting at the Athens School of Fine Art (2004), sculpture at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma (2003-04) and Chemistry at the University of Patras (1995).