do i still yearn for my virginity?
October 20 - Novermber 25
Opening Reception, October 21, 6 - 8 pm
SITUATIONS is pleased to present Do I Still Yearn for My Virginity?, a solo exhibition by Chrysanne Stathacos, comprised of pivotal printed paintings of ivy and marijuana leaves from the early 1990’s.
The title Do I Still Yearn for My Virginity?* refers to one of the artist’s favorite fragments from the archaic Greek poet Sappho. Stathacos recited excerpts from Sappho’s poetry during her recent performance-installation, Pythia's Rose Mandala at AA Bronson’s Garten der Lüste, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin and Pythia at The Breeder, Athens. The Pythia references the tripod structures used in ancient Delphi by the 'virgin' female oracles who inhaled the vapors of hallucinatory plants. Reflecting on her past, Stathacos presents the paintings as 'virgins’ to the public for the first time at Situations. While imagining The Eleusinian Mysteries, she created these radical works with the intention to evoke a shamanistic reading. Made in the 1980-90’s as a counterpoint to the Neo Geo and The Pictures Generation commentaries on consumerism and mass media, her investigation explored the spiritual properties inherent in visionary and healing plants.
Additionally, the AIDS crisis had a profound effect on her work, resulting in the use of direct impressions from nature. Just as one would take a handprint or make a death mask, Stathacos used leaves, roses, hair, and body imprints to create permanent marks, inspired by The Shroud of Turin and Yves Klein/s work. Stathacos' use of mirroring and patterning of direct printing from the plants manifests a sense of immediacy. She paints back into the canvas, creating an illumination by her use of drips and veils of paint. The final results are paintings that flip directions in the mind, with detailed alchemical gestures that conjure the plant’s inherent healing properties.
Situations is also pleased to reprint Chrysanne Stathacos and Anne De Cybelle, AA Bronson’s preface in her artist book, And So Beautiful (1995, Lombard Freid Fine Arts, NYC). AA Bronson references Stathacos’ self-created alter ego Anne de Cybelle and reveals her as the Psychic d’Elle Arte. Stathacos continues to embrace her Anne de Cybelle, the Psychic d’Elle Arte, and Pythia personages.
CHRYSANNE STATHACOS (b. 1951, Toronto, Canada and Athens, Greece) is a multidisciplinary artist. Her work encompasses printmaking, textiles, painting, installation, and conceptual art. Stathacos is heavily involved with and influenced by feminism, Greek Mythology, eastern spirituality, and Tibetan Buddhism, all of which inform her current artistic practice. Stathacos has exhibited in museums and galleries internationally over the past 30 years, including Oracle Drawings, documenta 14, Athens; The Breeder, Athens; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; The Power Plant, Toronto; Thread Waxing Space, New York; Participant Inc, New York, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York; Fiendish Plots, Lincoln, Nebraska, and The Wish Machine exhibited at Grand Central Station under the auspices of Creative Time Inc. She has received grants from the Art Matters Foundation, the Japan Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Adolph & Esther Gottlieb Foundation, among others. Stathacos has upcoming exhibitions at The Sculpture Park, Madhavendra Palace, Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur, India and at Cooper Cole, Toronto.
*Sappho, fragment 107, translation Anne Carson, “If Not Winter, Fragments of Sappho”
Chrysanne Stathacos and Anne de Cybelle
July 1995, New York
One night, a hot July night, just two weeks ago ... I was staying with
Chrysanne Stathacos in her tiny Little Italy apartment in the heart of
Manhattan... l was sleeping and in the midst of my sleep, in the midst of this
still heat. I heard water running. It was three in the morning and
Chrysanne was puffing on a cigar in the manner of her friend George Sand,
feverishly filling the squat porcelain bathtub which sat steaming in the middle
of her kitchen, a mere twenty feet from my head. I heard her lower herself
with a groan into the lavender-scented liquid and I felt the pressure of a
hyperactive spirit life as it coped with the steam, smoke and scent with which
Chrysanne was forcing it from the room. The water would remove the psychic
sludge which had attached itself to her, which had awakened her from her'
sleep to the alarm of finding the impression of another body lowering itself
onto her length, clinging to her breasts, her mound of Venus, her thighs.
Was this Anne de Cybelle herself melding with her twentieth century reincar-
nation? Was it Charles Baudelaire returning to the body of his beloved?
Or was it more likely some sinister ectoplasm,
come to devour the delicious tresses of the celebrated
Psychic d'Elle Arte?
In these days of heightened spirit presence, choose safety over stimulation.
Unless the presence is absolutely clear and benificent, light incense and
smudge sticks, drink the juice of fresh red roses, spit water over the hair of
your head, bathe in lavender oil, wave white silk scarves or white sheets over
your head and around your body, stamp your feet on bare ground. For the
next three days, be careful of damage to your feet. In these days of death and
dying, the accumulated spirit life of centuries has been amplified by the
'epidemics of the twentieth century. And they are not passing to the other side.
They are not passing to the other side. They remain with us still.
So I lay on my row of cushions on Chrysanne's floor, watching as the
variegated fog of angry spirits was dispelled by smoke, by scent, by water.
The Psychic d' Elle Arte lowered herself into the steaming bath of lavender.
The ectoplasm collapsed. Anne de Cybelle was safe once more.