April 16, 2021 - July 31, 2021
ALMA ZEVI Venice
Sofia Stevi’s lyrical practice encompasses painting, sculpture, book-making and poetry. In her work, memories of the Ancient world coexist with everyday life, resulting in compositions which have enigmatic and often broken narratives. In her instinctive process of painting thoughts and ideas to converge - with the freedom of a dream-state - into artworks that are by turns poetic and dramatic. Calligraphic lines describe dreamy figures that are not fixed in time or space. There is usually no foreground or background, but rather a concentrated vision of the human form.
I remember the days I was painting these works as sunny and I remember having them around me in the sunsets and the soft natural light before it gets dark. I think I made these paintings when I was tired of working in large scale with colour and I wanted to make works concentrated in the human figure just using ink, black and white forms and grayscales. Most of the female figures are from myself and models from magazines, one or two of them painted also with patterns that are more elaborate.
When I finished with those I wanted to explore the male form as well that I was not so familiar with and initially less attracted to. I used my partner as a mod- el (since I find him attractive at least). Somehow, I now feel closer now to the male paintings; I think they have a certain degree of existentialism and are quite raw.
Looking at them now, I see figures trapped alone, trying to do everyday things or that are stuck in poses. What I see now has an essence of what we all go through at the moment. Everyone around me seems stuck (in a room, a house, fear, in a new lifestyle that doesn’t feel like life). But also I see dancers, gracefully taking positions in their own little space.
Painting the human figure for me is about understanding the space inside me. Why I fear so much, how I am growing older, why my body fails me sometimes and other times makes me feel so good, the happiness that I feel, how I relate to other people, how I make connections. I’m not sure if I get any answers, but it feels good to continue. I think with these paintings I connect my fantasy with my reality.
Sofia Stevi (Athens, 2021)
Sofia Stevi (b. 1982, Athens) studied at Vakalo School of Art and Design in Athens and at Central Saint Martins in London. Recent solo exhibitions include ALMA ZEVI, Venice (2021, 2018); The Breeder Gallery, Athens (2020, 2017); Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London (2019); Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle Upon Tyne (2017); ALMA ZEVI, Celerina (2016). Recent group exhibitions were held at The Breeder Gallery, Athens (2020); Galeria Pelaires, Palma, Maillorca (2020); Haus N, Athens (2020 & 2018); Wiener Art Foundation, Athens (2017); the Benaki Museum, Athens (2016); 53 Beck Road, London (2015); Aeropagus Konigen, Vienna (2015); Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield (2013); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2011). In 2015 she was artist in residence at Cuprum, in Nicosia, Cyprus. In 2010, Stevi co-founded Friary Road House poetry press, and in 2013 co-founded the artist-led project space Fokidos, where she hosts exhibitions and residencies with both international and Greek artists. The artist currently lives and works in Athens.