the plate is always half...
23 x 30.5 x 2.5 in (59 x 77.5 x 7 cm)
The plate is always half... is a series of 14 puzzles from the bodies of work Chez Naussicaa that revisits the definition of ξενία (xenia) in the light of the current refugee situation in Greece while actualizing the practice of Ancient Greek hospitality and French Savoir-Vivre in contemporary society. In this reciprocal relation, the host has to show respect to the guest by providing him/her with food, drink, bath and gifts and treating him/her as if potentially a disguised divinity without never asking any question about his/her identity. In return, the guest has to show respect to the host by being courteous and, when ready, reveal his/her identity and share his/her story.
For this project, the artist recreates the ancient guest-host relationship by inviting in a traditional Greek home, small groups of Greek locals, refugees and expats to share anonymously a home-made dinner, reactualizing along the way the guest-host relationship described in the Odyssey. The human interactions and personal stories that unfolded during each meal acted as the starting point for the artist to create a multimedia body of works exploring the revealing of the Self and relationship with the Other. She looked at the way identity shifted within the framework of the dinner thru the simple and genuine human interactions that spontaneously and organically occurred.
The plate is always half... uses photographs of the plates taken during the performance dinners before arriving at the table and after leaving it as a metaphor to explore this timeframe where identity shifts from “perfect host”/ “perfect guest” to Self. The artist printed these “before and after” photographs of a same plate in large puzzles and then manually shifted pieces between the two images to create these fragmented images of an identity under construction. The works focus on the way one’s identity is perceived by the Other within a social encounter and asks the question: “what happens from the moment the plate arrives at the table full and the moment when it leaves it empty?”. Each puzzle is treated as a portrait where the appearance of the “perfect plate” gets altered and “humanized” by the singularity of the individual to whom it was served.
The works invite the viewer in a journey within the transformation of participants’ identity from “perfect host”/ “perfect guest” according to our shared social rules and practices to their own Self, claiming their singularity and building bounds with the others as the dinner progresses.
2019 "Cookbook 2019" / curators: Nicolas Bourriaud and Andrea Petrini / La Panacée - Center for Contemporary Art / Montpellier, France
2018 “Chez Naussica” / curator: Ifigenia Papamikroulea / French Institute / Athens, Greece