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HERMÈS Windows in Athens: Zoomorphism – Reimagining personal mythologies
The installations of artist Socratis Socratous will take into consideration recurrent themes of object zoomorphism across Mediterranean cultures. These will be intersected with the inspired interpretation of Hermès’ 2017 theme of "Object Sense"
37D 58' 36.67", 23D 44' 04.48"
Coordinates redefined
Three special windows are metamorphosed into unique micro-habitats equal to elaborate oneiric mythological scenes. Populated with items that emphasise the relation between ancient iconography and object aestheticism, every installation is simultaneously complimented and supported by the presence of Hermès creations. Constructed with diverse materials such as iron and plaster, Socratous’s objects engage in an active dialogue with those of Hermès and generate a stimulating and thought-provoking narrative.

Monument (2017), mixed media, iron, plaster. Life-size horse head evocative of a zoomorphic drinking vessel object.

Constellation (2017), mixed media, iron, plaster. Synthesis of five co-joined zoomorphic vessel objects.

Ducks at play (2017), mixed media, iron, plaster. Zoomorphic vessel objects with participating figures of dogs and ducks.

Archaeological excavations brought to light objects related to everyday life, very closely associated with animal iconography. The iconic Greek rhyton introduced in Greece from Persia was a conical container modelled after the shape of an animal’s head (bull, lion, boar, horse, dog), normally made of terracotta (or metal in some cases) and painted over elaborately. It was either used as a normal vessel for people to drink from or as a device to pour liquids via a sophisticated drainage system during a ceremony or a ritual. The consumption of wine which was typically linked with the use of rhyton received a heavy symbolism in ancient Greece and was parallelised with god Dionysus and his archetypal image of indestructible life.

Monument (2017), mixed media, iron, plaster. Life-size horse head evocative of a zoomorphic drinking vessel object.

The exuberant participation of animals –now transformed into objects in Socratous’s story– enunciates their role in the expressive mode of Hermès through its innumerable patterns and scenes emerging throughout its history. Criss-crossing between the domains of the imaginary and the real, the artist indulges viewers in a playful yet mystical atmosphere, where objects come to life.

As in the case of rhyton, the opening of the brand new Hermès store in Athens fabricates the connection between the functional hypostasis of the essence of the object with the ceremonial and celebratory aspect of life itself.

Constellation (2017), mixed media, iron, plaster. Synthesis of five co-joined zoomorphic vessel objects.

At the same time, the limitless human imagination that always integrates zoomorphic representations into everyday life suddenly takes the shape of three-dimensional works that gradually evolve into ritualistic artefacts. 

Socratis Socratous is represented by THE BREEDER

Credits

Words
Dr Kostas Prapoglou

Photos
Stathis Mamalakis

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Author

Polis Ioannou


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