Pythia

2010
Tiles, Grout, Gold bronzing powder, Gold paint, Expanding foam, Metal
80 x 180 x 80 cm
Edition of 1

In a reversal of process, Paul maps the space occupied by classical Greek sculpture. Transforming the resulting geometric, two-dimensional forms into sculpture, Paul uses a rigorous formal language, without refuting representation altogether. Paul takes the classical chiastic pose, which depicts a balance between tension and rest, as the starting point for these works. The chiastic pose was a major development in classical Greek sculpture, as it represents the first time the human body was used to express a psychological state, with the weight of the body on one foot suggesting a relaxed appearance. Paul uses the chiastic pose to allude to classical sculpture in general, rather than to specific works. The bulky geometric constructions of Pythia are stark in contrast to the delicacy and detailed carving of the classical sculptures from which they take their form, alluding to their starting point as crude blocks of stone and to the subsequent fragmented forms that many classical sculptures have deteriorated into over time. The temporality of these classical sculptures is an important consideration for Paul, who uses gold paint and gold bronzing powder in the grouted seams of Pythia, to instil this work with a feeling of temporality. Gradually, the grouted seams will turn a mineralised turquoise, developing a patina similar to Pythia's classical forbearers and encouraging one to consider how value is ascribed to these objects.

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About The Artist

Zoë Paul has long been interested in the history of classical sculpture and often addresses this in her work. By parodying works of art from bygone eras, particularly classical Greek sculptures and artefacts, Paul uses geometric abstraction and everyday material to create unexpected relationships which provoke questions of value and taste. Paul explores the character of domestic spaces, both in architectural and social terms and is most interested in the intersecting point when interior and exterior parameters become blurred. Her practice incorporates mixed media works, sculpture and prints that explore our perception of history, and the treatment and presentation of historical periods and objects, with a particular focus on classical Greek sculpture. She does this through her use of specific material, such as clay sourced from an Old Minoan settlement in Greece, in order to suggest an ancient history re-appropriated into modern existence. This particular clay is vital to the abstracted form and aesthetic of the sculptures. It is important to Paul that the works are manipulated by hand so that the material retains its innate properties and thereby communicate its inherent sculptural traditions and its relationship to nature. Through using a material that relates to a classical civilization the works reference pseudo-archeological objects, potentially eroded by the sea.

Zoe Paul

Born: 1987

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