Interviewer: Panagiota Karagianni
Student of Greek Literature
Lilia Ziamou is a notable sculptor we met this year at her first solo exhibition in Greece, at Gallery “7”, in Athens. Her show is entitled «Unbound» and at its core are the boundaries of the body. The digital and physical forms often co-exist and complement each other in her creative process, while themes of beauty, decay, and self-expression are the dominant themes in her works.
What was your first encounter with sculpture?
The most vivid memory I have from my childhood, is a Cycladic sculpture, the marble harp player from Keros from the Early Cycladic Period.
How is it to give shape to raw materials, to create a three-dimensional form? Your digital compositions: what do they offer and what do they take away?
When working with three-dimensional forms there is a direct contact with the materials that is important to me. There are also multiples challenges that make it exciting. One, the form has to look ‘right’ from every possible angle. Two, you have to respect gravity. Three, one should consider how the three dimensional form interacts with the environment it is placed in.
In my digital compositions I manipulate, physically and digitally photographs of my sculptures. I take hundreds of close-ups of the sculptures and process them digitally.
My work focuses on the possibilities and impossibilities that emerge when existing boundaries are challenged. Working digitally enables me to explore transformations and manipulations, challenging the boundaries of the sculptural forms and the boundaries of the physical materials. Ultimately what emerges from the process of continuous transformation and manipulation is a way to expose the body from multiple vantage points, challenging a single perspective and disrupting the viewer’s initial perception.
Your studies expand from Greece, France to New York and your bio includes an impressive gamut of activities and areas of study and research. How has this journey influenced your art?
Studying across disciplines and across countries forces you to challenge your own boundaries and preconceptions. Of course, the actual impact is better understood in retrospect and long after the work is complete.
What was the reason you decided to hold an exhibition in Greece and what do you think is the meaning of sculpture in Greece today?
I was born in Greece and still visit every year. It is a pleasure and honor to have an exhibition in Greece for the first time. I was fortunate to have an excellent collaboration with Maria and Manolis Kanakakis at Gallery “7” throughout the process of planning and executing the exhibition.
It is heartening to note that in the last few years several exhibitions and art projects in Greece have received international attention. This is particularly encouraging, given the current economic situation.
Your exhibition has the laconic (in a positive sense) title “Unbound” which in Greek means “Adetos”. The core of your exhibition is the boundaries of the body. In what way are the boundaries of the body conceptualized in this case? Is there any symbolism between the physical form of the body and the one you are imagining?
As I mentioned earlier, my work focuses on the possibilities and impossibilities that emerge when existing boundaries are challenged. The confines of the physical body have been at the core of my art practice and I have been exploring physical and digital transformations and manipulations. Challenging physical boundaries and reconfiguring the form offers an alternative visual experience of the body, disrupting the viewer’s initial perception and exposing the body from multiple vantage points.
My thinking is not around symbols but of course, the physical and the metaphysical are connected. Reconfiguring the form has implications about how the body is perceived and how pre-existing social or cultural boundaries can be challenged as well.
Where do these boundaries come from? How are they conceived, eliminated, and what is their purpose?
The boundaries in a literal sense come from your point of view. We see things not as they are but as we believe they are. And then of course, boundaries also come from the constraints of our social and cultural mores.
Your art symbolically reflects the release you are suggesting. I was wondering how visitors could interpret your message.
My art explores alternative realities that offer new interpretations of the body, not tied to a specific place or time. The continuous transformation and manipulation, as a way to examine and expose the body from multiple vantage points, invites the viewer to challenge the notion of a single reality.
Boundaries also mark the differences between the physical and the digital world. In your exhibition the boundaries are being eliminated, since one can go from seeing a three-dimensional work made of traditional materials (such as marble or plaster) to seeing a digital composition, as a pigment print on archival paper. Is it therefore possible for these two worlds to co-exist in the world of art or outside of it, in a harmonious way, and if so, is this harmony a matter of boundaries?
In both the works and reality, digital representations allow for malleability of the physical boundaries and provide with infinite possibilities. That is to say, digital manipulation challenges the physical boundaries of three-dimensional works and the boundaries of the materials used in these works. In reality, digital representations of the self work in a similar manner to the digital identities that most of us use online. What we see in these digital representations is an attempt to transcend existing boundaries. Although the physical and the digital world can co-exist in a harmonious way and be in dialogue with each other, what I am interested in is the act of challenging existing boundaries and the possibilities and impossibilities that emerge when doing so. The process involves experimentation and the outcome challenges a single perspective.
How important is it to set boundaries in our choices and our way of life, and how are these boundaries affecting us when they are represented in works of art, or when they are imposed irrationally in our personal expression?
I think these are very personal decisions. That is to say the type and degree of boundaries set by an individual in a certain context. I am interested in the process of challenging existing boundaries, the implications of this process, what is possible and what is not, and most important, any new perspectives that emerge as a result of this process.
To conclude, we would love to hear: What you are currently working on.
I am currently working on a new series of three- dimensional works, further exploring “smart” materials, manipulations and transformations. These works will be exhibited at my upcoming exhibition at the Consulate General of Greece in New York.
Words that would make a better tomorrow without the stranglehold of ties.
”Deny whatever your eyes see.” Saviors of God, Nikos Kazantzakis
One wish for ANIMARTISTS
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