The Breeder is pleased to present Chrysanne Stathacos’s (b. 1951) first solo presentation in Greece. Titled Pythia the show consists of The Pythia’s Rose Mandala along with the The Banquet (1992), a collaboration with artist Hunter Reynolds.
Originally created to be presented to the Dalai Lama in 2006 for his visit at the University of Buffalo, The Pythia’s Rose Mandala is exhibited in the gallery’s ground floor. The Rose Mandala series has been featured in numerous international exhibitions such as AA Bronson’s Garden of Earthly Delights, Kunstverein Salzburg, 2015; Sarce du Printemps, Kunstverein Graz, 2015; The Temptation of AA Bronson, Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, 2013 and will also be included in AA Bronson’s upcoming exhibition at KW Institute of Contemporary Art Berlin in 2018.
This site-specific installation opens and ends with a performance that collectively activates and closes its ritual aspects. Based on historical circular structures Stathacos creates a temporal work that evolves over time by plucking dozens of roses apart petal by petal circling coloured mirrors and the Pythia. Additionally during the performances Stathacos initiates a meditative practice where she invites her audience to partake, described by AA Bronson as an act of ‘public service’. The senses are touched by waves of rose scent inhabiting the space of the work. Throughout the exhibition these petals are left to dry and although the mandalas maintain their colour, they gradually reduce in size, almost disappearing. At the closing performance all will be swept away as a closing ritual. The “Pythia” placed in the centre of the installation references the tripod structures used in Delphi by ancient female oracles. Stathacos uses these bronze structures as vessels that draw from the feminist traditions acting as a prophecy that foretells the future but also forecloses and heals certain pasts. Ultimately the work reflects the ephemeral process of change, age, decay and emptiness, within a multicultural format incorporating both Greek Mythology and Eastern spirituality.
In the basement Stathacos’s seminal collaborative work The Banquet with Hunter Reynolds (aka Patina du Prey) is screened. First preformed at Thread Waxing Space in 1992, it was largely inspired by Surrealist Meret Oppenheim’s Spring Feast, in which a banquet was presented on the body of a nude woman. Andre Breton later encouraged Oppenheim to re-enact Spring Feast for the Paris Exhibition entitled Exposition InteR natiOnale du Surrealsime (the last joint exhibition of the Surrealist group). In The Banquet, Stathacos and Reynolds have inverted Oppenheim’s original event by substituting a nude man for the woman, blatantly confronting issues of male dominance throughout (art) history.
Born in Buffalo, New York, and based between Athens and Toronto, Stathacos brings together performance, installation and video in various formats, creating participatory projects, aiming to make new connections between cultures, historical periods, technologies and environmental issues. At the heart of Stathacos’s work is a deep commitment in examining and reconfiguring the patriarchal history and histories developed through feminist perspective of art and society. In the late 1970s Stathacos became associated with the art collective General Idea, eventually moving to New York and sharing a studio with the group’s founders, AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal. She founded Expanded Art Ideas, an innovative art education program for Artists’ Space, NYC and directed the program until 2016. She launched MOMMY, a web site celebrating women artists with artist Susan Silas in 2011. She is a founding Director of Dongyu Gatsal Ling Initiatives, a non- profit organization that works to help Tibetan Buddhist women practitioners in India and Tibet, inspired by the life work of Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo.
Selected exhibitions include: 1-900 Mirror Mirror, The Breeder, Frieze NYC, 2017, premiered as a solo show at Andrea Rosen Gallery New York 1993/ The Banquet: Ephemera Office Enterprise in collaboration with Hunter Reynolds, Participant Inc. NYC, 2017, first exhibited at Thread Waxing Space, 1992/ The Wish Machine, Grand Central Station under the auspices of Creative Time Inc., 1997 / Pythia’s Warm Breath in Oracle Drawings, Parliament of Bodies, Documenta 14, 2017 curated by Paul B. Preciado and Sozita Goudouna / AA Bronson’s Garden of Earthly Delights, Kunstverein Salzburg, 2015. Sarce du Printemps, Kunstverein Graz, 2015. The Temptation of AA Bronson, Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, 2013 / The Abortion Project, a collaboration with Kathe Burkhart, Artists Space, Simon Watson Gallery, Real Art Ways, Hallwalls and New Langton Arts between 1990 and 1993. Stathacos’ s work is included in numerous public collections, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; Castellani Art Museum, Lewiston; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; and the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester. Stathacos has received awards from the Art Matters Foundation, the Japan Foundation and the Adolph & Esther Gottlieb Foundation.
Hunter Reynolds (1959) is a visual artist, AIDS activist, and Visual AIDS artist member. He was an early member of ACT UP, and in 1989 co-founded Art Positive, an affinity group of ACT-UP to fight homophobia and censorship in the arts. Reynolds recently received the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. He is represented by P.P.O.W., NYC.