When we think of Greek Art, do we think of contemporary Performance Art ? This tradition of Greece has an overshadowing effect, defining Beauty and Philosophy for millennia. Fenia's work challenges this iconography of Beauty and thinking about Woman's place in the world.
Even for me, living in perhaps the most non-traditional culture in the world, (Perth Australia), my identity is being continually shaped by external forces, weather I like it or not. In more traditional cultures these forces are more suffocating and deadly. Then there is the global community where Artists wander planet like nomadic warriors, shaping the future with their Art.
Fenia Kotsopoulou's work is very much about performance pedagogy, (the relationship between performer and audience). We are fascinated to watch her perform extreme notions of identity and belonging. "I navigate through a liminal space in order to undergo a process of unbecoming in which I take off layers and layers imposed on me by society, culture, history and family". She is teaching us. And we are fascinated by this.
Fenia's piece "What Beauty Feels Like" shows elements of classical beauty, the Christ-on-the-cross majesty together with atavistic qualities which provokes gender confusion, desire and lust. We have a growth on our bodies which becomes very public - the hair of our body, from head to toe, might cover us totally or we could choose to discreetly remove it. Hair on the human body is a source of inspiration as we each consider and reconsider gender identity. As Fenia further explains; "A hairy woman can still be perceived as monstrous, deviant, unhappy, provocative, and masculine: meaning not a real woman. What would have changed along the way that the female body is perceived as if body hair were a positive and relevant part of (art) histories, tales, myths and legends?" What she is alluding to here is the expanding horizons of femme empowerment. And this is exquisitely shown in her Performance Art.
Fenia goes further to obliterate the duality we struggle with. She sees the Artist's responsibility as one to merge, or evaporate the separations we experience in the world and for us to rely more on "lived experience as an infinite source of embodied knowledge", as a way to create a more unified world.