Eva Caridi: Labyrinths of the Soul

Xanthi SKOULARIKI's picture
Eva Caridi: Labyrinths of the Soul

Eva Caridi, a Greek-British sculptor, is premiering a monumental iron installation comprised of two labyrinths containing an interactive sculpture installation. This imposing project will be on from 11 January and for two weeks at the underground hangar space of Ambika P3. Curated by Francesca Nannini, RM features a preview and an exclusive dialogue between the artist and curator.

Eva Caridi is a bold artist. Born on the Greek Island of Corfu, she is an award-winning sculptor who dared to develop a project of impressive scale, to be unveiled in January: 11 tons of steel and 3 years of preparations at S&W of Midlands, the interactive installation will cover 14,000 square feet and will take about five days to install. Caridi, a graduate of Academy Julienne in Paris, has shown her work in New York, Paris, Cairo, Florence and Sao Paolo but never before has she touched the subjects of concern – the everlasting and the transient - in such a grand manner. The installations feature a video projection and a group of 20 unique sculptures silently observing the visitor who will pass through the labyrinths. Curator Francesca Nannini explains “It is her [the artist], grasping for breath in an attempt to come out of the state that so much has embroiled her and enveloped us in her work; it’s her again, looking straight into the camera as if to defy the ‘time machine’ she has been enclosed in”.

The title of the exhibition is Nude, serving as a commentary on the human condition, on what lies in each of us underneath the cultural layers we are cloaked in. It is the human soul, undressed of the superfluous and the ephemeral, of the constraints and structures society holds us prisoners to. The minimalism of the installation, acts as a primordial filter to re-reach our purest essence that will hopefully get to be revealed as we, the audience, step into the labyrinth and embark on a spiritual journey.

The cathartic process starts from the first labyrinth that is built in a Cretan fashion, with a one-way path leading to the core where there is a video projection. The symbolic power of the labyrinth, the erratic element and the discrepancy between time and sound, make this work a portable window into the subconscious. The time is framed, fluctuating from past to present to future. This is the stage of life where the merging of the three moments is reinforced by the three stages of life, reverberating through the installation as one will walk inside it. The second labyrinth, set in a separate space, dismisses the claustrophobic sentiment and trades it for an open, unhidden scenery, best described as a deconstructed space that loosens its morale and digresses to the primitive. Fragile, life-size plaster sculptures inhabit the space that is defined by the hangar’s temple-like colonnade, enhanced by 20 iron blocks forming a path that mirrors the labyrinth behaviour, albeit an imaginary one.

Curator and artist go into conversation, exploring Nude in search of unfolding Caridi’s inner creative existence in ten plus one questions.

Francesca Nannini:Why nude?

Eva Caridi:Nude is a fragile condition of human existence. When you chose a title for your work, you try to embody the essence of your inspiration. Human, time, introspection are reflected in the title.

What does the labyrinth represent?

The labyrinth is used as a symbol to represent a three-dimensional feeling, to concentrate on feelings. It forces you into a pilgrimage, a journey through time. People lose track of direction and of the outside world, ascending towards a personal state of mind. Despite feeling confused and lost, one finds the way to the end, which is in fact the beginning. In the core of the construction I have placed a short video showing females in their three stages of life.

Do you feel as if you were living in a labyrinth?

I believe time forces us to have a unicursal direction, where the past has already gone, the future is yet to come and the present combines both .

In  your video installation you use a passage from the Bible ‘When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child’. Is that innocence forever lost?

If you cannot get to the point where you can understand yourself and surrender to that state of mind, then yes, it is. People seem to forget and we try to complicate things and ignore the simple meaning of our existence.

When do we start forgetting ourselves?

As we move on with life we take lots of things for granted and give value to shallow stuff. We lose the child like approach which is more noble. I don’t think there’s a break point, this happens step by step and it is more difficult to look back and find ourselves.

What are nicest and most recent memories of your childhood?

The funny thing is that I don’t have memories. I have no vivid childhood memories. I cannot remember myself as a child. This project could be research because I came to a certain point where I understood, without losing the child in me. I think my art comes out as very primitive, very pure; I feel that memories are not bad but sometimes they can pull you back.

Are you afraid of death?

I am afraid of suffering, of illness. I am not afraid of death but of how I will arrive to that point.

Back to the labyrinth: as it is very narrow and claustrophobic, what reactions do you expect from the people walking inside it?

I think it depends on one’s state of feeling at a certain time, on what’s inside their subconscious. I think it will be a different experience for each one. The corridors are narrow and high enough in order to put everyone in a certain state and hopefully when they arrive in the core they will understand the video installation better.

Do you see the labyrinth as having a therapeutic effect?

In every way, yes. I believe it can be a very cathartic experience.

And the sculptures...who are these sculptures? What do they represent?

I like to work in this secular way. It is easier for someone to make meaning when they are looking at a three-dimensional object. Every sculpture is the same model, the same person in different emotional phases and for the viewer, a different three-dimension is nearer to the human existence. When you are standing in front of a painting you perceive it in a different way- a sculpture comes nearer to you. The only intermediary is the video: I am trying to find the in-between. When you are about to make a decision, this state is the purest feeling of all, just before you take your decision: this is the primitive.

The sculptures have a sad look, like most of my work because I am experiencing a moment in my life that has this impact on me. An artist is very much influenced by society and the country they live in and the historical moment they find themselves at. These sculptures reflect the time they live in, our feelings. The body has its own way to depict emotions. I hope the visitors can find themselves in the labyrinth and identify with my work.

When did you realise you wanted to become an artist?

 My father is a painter and I grew up in a very artistic environment. I learnt music from a young age. One is born an artist, born with the vocation. You don’t discover at one point in your life that you are an artist; it comes very naturally and you don’t really know how. It is this need to materialise your feelings and comes out from the inside and goes straight to your hands.


Eva Caridi, Nude

11-22 January 2012

Ambika P3 p3exhibitions.com