"A Miroloi of life"
Artist in residency: Eleni Tsompanidou

What is the role of grief in contemporary societies, and what cultural or generational differences can we trace in our experiences of grief? The artist Eleni Tsompanidou examined these questions in her project A Miroloi of Life, the outcome of her residency at the ARTisBOOK Foundation during November/December 2020.

Taking as a starting point her own experiences with grief while also considering the marginalized position and the oppression of the grieving individual in our society, the artist's aim during her residency was to create a platform for a collective exploration of the topic.

At the beginning of the working period, Eleni placed an open call that invited the public to participate in a weekly mail exchange. The participants of this exchange had the opportunity to share and process their histories of grieving. In this way, the project facilitated as a platform for better understanding of the complexities of loss and grieving both on an individual and collective level and invited for a reading of grief not only related to death but also as a part of everyday life and human interactions, changes, loss of control and the passing of time, aspects very topical to the unstable contemporary situation created by COVID-19.

The mail exchange was an intense experience that challenged Eleni's perception. She realized that although grief is something individual it is also something we all experience in our life. The complexity and diversity of grief can many times result in it being unnoticed, dismissed, or pathologized. The artist hopes that having an open discussion about grief can reframe our approach and understanding of this important issue.

Due to the restrictions/measurements established on the 14th of December 2020, the physical presentation of A Miroloi of Life in ARTisBOOK planned for the 18th, 19th and 20th of December could not take place.

The artist is currently working on a connecting publication in collaboration with Pieter Augustijn which is planned to be released before the summer of 2021.

About the artist: 

Eleni Tsompanidou is an artist, based in Groningen, Netherlands. She works between the Netherlands and Greece. She studied Fine Arts in Minerva Academy. She works extensively in the form of artist’s books and many of her projects are participatory and socially engaged. She has exhibited her work in the “Glass Cabinet” in Academy Minerva, and in several Group shows, including “Stepping stones”, in Gallery Forma Aktua, Groningen; “WKB18”, Groningen; Midseason Het Resort “Accept the cookies”, Sterrebos, Groningen. She has participated in several performative events including “Does It Have A Name” and “Performative Live readings”. Recent projects include the co organised “Art.is.on.the.line”, an online platform that fostered and cultivated discussions with cultural practitioners during 2020. In November 2020 she started her residency in ARTisBOOK, Groningen. Her work explores human interactions, intimacy, and memory, experiences of human conditioning as well as pre-established patterns of thought.

To know more about Eleni and her work, visit her website here.

Below, a text written by Henk Woudsma about Eleni’s working process and her relationship with mail-art.

Eleni Tsomsanidou
Mail-art as an interactive and collaborative exploration

Mail-art can be described as an artistic information and communication experiment. An artist searches for a democratic art model in which sender and receiver are equal.

During her residency at ARTisBOOK, Eleni Tsompanidou makes use of this genre. Her subject is the starting point and it is the intention that others from the network respond to it with content. While communicating, Eleni creates a stimulating environment from which everyone could draw inspiration. She has to deal with the conditions of the outside world and she tries to organize them in a special way. In this way she expresses her own subjective feelings, but only after she has forced herself to take that outside world into account.

With her mail-art project Eleni tries to organize a chaotic collection of ideas in a coherent way. In this she brings her feelings and experiences. By making mail-art works of other artists into elements of her own work, she deprives them of their original identity. This can be experienced as a depersonalization of herself. It is a way of making the communication with herself, with other people and between other people, visible. There is work of all those others and therefore you are forced to act socially, to the outside world.

Through her mail-art project she has to bring it all together, invite people to participate, think about who you invite, how you show it, and what you point out to the audience. In this way Eleni frees art from its private and egocentric state. For her, this is what is important about mail-art and what is also expressed during her performances. By participating in Eleni's mail-art project, you give away something of yourself at the same time. Through her mail-art project Eleni is also aware of the fact that working with another person's work becomes a part of herself.

Stichting ARTisBOOK

30 November 2020

Dit project werd ondersteund door: