Zoë Paul holds a fascination with the characters of the domestic spaces, both anthropologically and architecturally. Her practice questions the threshold between the interior and the exterior and where this seems to disappear, using mixed media, sculpture and installations that all explore our perception of history, the treatment and presentation of historical periods and objects.
Her series of wool weavings on found fridge grills hold strong painterly yet stark qualities combining the remains of a disposed domestic appliance with the production of domestic textiles. The practice is defined as sculpture due to her interest in found objects, along with its relation with the body. The uses of fridge grills as a base for her weavings creates a greater social presence. When the invention of the fridge came to warmer climates it shifted social structures, as the preservation of food was previously difficult, therefore prior to the intervention of this domestic appliance a greater social occasion had been made over the act of passing food. Paul sees these objects like representations of society where each line in the weaving can’t exist without the next. The handicraft of weaving roots is itself heavily in anthropological matter. Her works can be identified in the sculptural context of gesture and form: instead of being part of a genealogy of painting, the works can be seen as marks and touch of the body upon the object. Simultaneously the works induce a feeling of modernity and the digital being linked to the dyadic code of zeros and ones as in essence the thread is either above or below the grill.
This inquiry into social structures runs even deeper through her sculptural fountains. These fountains reference busts of antiquity yet simultaneously inducing a feel of the ethnographic, they look to explore alinear histories and formants of communication, referencing the social structures and long standing traditions of the community who meet around fountains in village squares to exchange stories of the everyday. The fountains are made of traditional clay a material that holds great precedence within Paul’s work. The bead curtain is another element drawn from the Mediterranean culture as it is often used in summer-houses to separate the private from the public. Zoë Paul’s semi fired bead curtain works use imagery from antiquity also retaining the effect of a hologram with the figures coming into view or disappearing when viewed from different angles. The clay beads are fired to create the final product. This material that holds great importance within history not only due to its process in relation to art history but also its utilitarian value, a material made to build everything from pots to house, a material that built civilization.
Zoë Paul (b.1987, London) grew up between the Greek island of Kithira and Oxford, having South African origins. She now lives and works in Athens. After finishing her undergraduate at Camberwell College of art, she completed her MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, London.
Selected shows include: SPIKE Island, Bristol (forthcoming 2018); Equilibrists organized by the New Museum, New York and the DESTE Foundation, Athens in collaboration at the Benaki Museum, Athens, curated by Gary Carrion-Murayari and Helga Christoffersen with Massimiliano Gioni; Unorthodox at the Jewish Museum, New York, curated by Jens Hoffman and Kelly Taxter.