The visual photographers Emilia Balaska and Rebecca Simons will present their work together for the first time in the exhibition Daughters at ΗΩΣ Gallery from 26 April to 18 May.

The exhibition includes older projects and new works co-created by the two artists combining photography, video, text and other visual media. Their works are shaped by experimental recording practices and symbolic gestures of intervention in the family archive.

In order to identify commonalities and patterns, they try to open a dialogue on memory, trauma and loss and an avenue for rethinking a shared past.

‘Fishing’, Digitized archive image manipulated by Stable Diffusion and Photoshop, 2024 © Rebecca Simons, 2024

Loss, Trauma, Memory

In her book “All about Love: New Visions”, feminist theorist, author and activist Bell Hooks provides a detailed theoretical framework that reexamines the socio-cultural concept of love and how it perpetuates systems of oppression rooted in patriarchy. According to Hooks, especially during childhood, we grow up with the belief that violations and abuse are simply, deviant expressions of love. According to her, however, these manifestations of violence are actually indicative of the essential lack of love flowing through the veins of society.

Our family histories often incorporate painful memories and experiences that we inherit and carry into our later lives. The combination of the two forms an abstract matter that sometimes seems heavy and rigid, like cement. The widely accepted term to describe this matter is the concept of trauma. Usually, we consciously expose these aspects of ourselves only in very personal moments. However, there is an unconscious level of exposure that is not necessarily a choice. Whether we like it or not, our memory & trauma – whether personal or collective – manifests at any given moment and can take many forms. It has a disruptive effect on the way we relate to each other. In some cases, it can even alter our sense of reality. Exposing our wounds, openly, can certainly be disheartening; but at the same time, it has the power to pave the way to healing.

Aimilia Balaska © Untititle XI Archive Photo, Digital Process 25x25cm

With sharing comes relief

Sharing is the method by which the artists Emilia Balaska and Rebecca Simons interact in the context of this exhibition. Simons chooses to discuss the issue of sexual abuse in a clear and open way, with an approach that resembles diary-like journaling. She exposes violent aspects of her family history while (re)visiting real memories that slowly fade or blur with the passage of time. Through projections, recorded letters and reflections, she creates a visual kaleidoscope that reproduces her ever-changing memories. Balaska, chooses to destroy or interfere with her memories in a physical way, through a process that is both vengeful and affectionate, in an attempt to cope with grief and the loss of a loved one. Drawing primarily from the notion of the family archive, they create a new context by weaving two separate projects together, Dotter (Emilia Balaska) and Letters from the Past (Rebecca Simons), in an exhibition that includes multimedia works and merges practices that reflect the interaction between the two artists. An attempt to overcome their history of abuse in order to regain their power and focus on healing practices.

Through the identification of common narrative points, confronted with memory, trauma and their own interventions in the family photographic archive, they seek to create an open and interdependent dialogue and negotiate their past. In this exhibition they will include collaborative methods and form a dialogue with the public.

Emilia Balaska

“Love is as love acts”

Returning to the thought of Bell Hooks, we remember that in order to learn how to love anew, we must give this concept a new and clear definition. We need to think of love as something we choose to do for others rather than as something we feel for others. Her infamous words were, after all: “love is as love acts”. So establishing new, collaborative ways of dealing with the collective trauma that women’s realities carry, openly discussing abuse, the healing that comes with sharing and supporting each other can certainly be a step forward and in that direction.

Rebecca Simons

Curated by and produced: Electra Karatza

Design Applications: Emilia Balaska

Production Assistant: Eleftheria Litou

Opening Night: 26.4 19.00-23.00

Opening Hours:

Tue-Fri 12.00-20.00 / Sat. 11.00-15.00

The gallery will be closed from Saturday 4.5 to Tuesday 7.5

Tel : (+30) 210 88 200 54

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