Pilar Corrias is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new work by Sofia Mitsola, running 2 September – 2 October 2021. The exhibition is Mitsola’s second solo presentation with the gallery and explores a myth written by the artist, following the adventures of warrior protagonists, sisters Aqua and Marina, in the semiaquatic world they inhabit.
Pilar Corrias is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new work by Sofia Mitsola, running 2 September – 2 October 2021.
The exhibition is Mitsola’s second solo presentation with the gallery and explores a myth written by the artist, following the adventures of warrior protagonists, sisters Aqua and Marina, in the semiaquatic world they inhabit. The exhibition includes new paintings and charcoal works.
Conceived firstly through drawings, Mitsola’s protagonists have developed across multiple media. Her figures are set on simple geometric backgrounds with intensely bright and gem-like colours painted in translucent and opaque layers. They are depicted naked and much larger than human scale. For this exhibition Mitsola has adopted a looser way of painting than in her previous work, using turpentine washes to imply her semiaquatic world, as well as opting either fiery or cooler tones to suggest the predatory nature of the protagonists. The exhibition includes a frieze-like drawing in charcoal which spans two walls of the upstairs gallery depicting a battle-scene between the sisters and their enemy, a vicious crocodile known as Crocovelus Niloticus. The downstairs gallery walls are lined with velvet to set a theatrical environment for the final part of the story, manifested through a triptych painting showing the capture of the crocodile. Large-scale paintings featuring multiple characters resembling ancient Greek Caryatids, marking Mitsola’s first experimentation with figures of varying scales in one scene, are on show. These are joined by smaller paintings of objects such as bejewelled amulets and portraits which belong to Aqua and Marina.
Mitsola’s myth can be read as a contemporary response to one of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s famed aphorisms which reads: “Anyone who fights with monsters should make sure that he does not in the process become a monster himself. And when you look for a long time into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.” In her works, Mitsola undermines the contrast between monster and hero, with protagonists who are both menacing and seductive. She typically explores ideas of voyeurism and confrontation in her practice, subverting the fear of the power of the female gaze that has traditionally characterised heroines in Greek and Egyptian mythology, such as the revered snake-haired Medusa and the Sphinx. Mitsola’s heroines are rulers, guardians, emancipated sexual beings and not the monsters that mythology has too often cautioned us against.
Sofia Mitsola will be in conversation with Dr Flavia Frigeri, Curator at the National Portrait Gallery, London, on 30 September 2021 at 6pm. They will discuss the myth written by the artist, the semi aquatic world the protagonists inhabit and the painterly process behind the works.