Text produced for the exhibition Iridescence
in Alkinois, Athens (GR) from 02.12.2022 to 28.01.2023

Whatever the season, there is this thing that at the end of the day settles over the city. Whether you are on your balcony or on the small motorway ramp that connects Athens to Piraeus, it radiates from the landscape this transparent skin like milk that has been boiled too long and luminescent like fish scales. It is white and multicoloured, silver and gold at the same time. Perhaps it is the remnant of the heat from the sun’s rays emanating from the photovoltaic panels, from the aluminium blinds, from the bits of broken glass, the fish still wet and ready to be grilled, the crossshaped neon lights of the Orthodox churches, the polished marble, the shiny coats of street cats and dogs. Perhaps it is each of these elements, in the randomness of everyday gestures, which generate this thing that settles on the city. The word I have identified to represent this thing is iridescence. Iridescence is not centred on the human, it deals with its environment, it is built and shaped in hybridisation. Like a camouflage, it takes fluid forms by incarnating itself through all kinds of elements. Iridescence, in the way it forms and slips through, would therefore be something akin to cunning. In “Les ruses de l’intelligence”, “La mètis des Grecs”, the anthropologists Marcel Detienne and Jean-Pierre Vernant define this relationship of slippage between the elements leading to iridescence: “This polychrome or complex of appearances produces an iridescent, shimmering effect, a play of reflections that the Greeks perceived as the incessant vibrations of light. In this sense, what is poikilos, multicoloured, is close to aioios, which refers to rapid movement. It is thus the changing surface of the liver, which is sometimes favourable and sometimes the opposite, called poikilos, just as good fortune, which is so incongruous, and also the divinity which constantly guides the destinies of men from one side to the other. Plato associates what is poikilos with that which is never the same as itself”. ! That which is never the same as itself is what we are expsoed to by Bregje Sliepenbeek, Lydia Delikoura, Charlotte Nieuwenhuys, Solanne Bernard and Marie d’Elbée. With a quick and flexible intelligence, they expose different systems of circulation through the elements and their
transformation, disguising forms and colours. Changes of state in the image of iridescence. Charlotte Nieuwenhuys’ paintings seem to play with the colour of the air, which could nevertheless appear invisible to us. But then how to represent the passage from the invisible to the visible? By passing from the infinitely small to the infinitely large. This is what Charlotte Nieuwenhuys does by projecting us into canvases, like samples of nature where a grain of sand becomes a desert, a snowflake becomes a bed of snow. Caught up in this whirlwind, we can imagine how each of these elements were formed: a glass bottle or the rock of which a fragment would have itself become sand. The brilliant light emanating from these elements can lead us to imagine hybrids generated by the force of moving air,
where sand carried over to the snow would create an icy pink parterre. Liquid is the element par excellence of iridescence. With her sculpture, Bregje Sliepenbeek brings architecture to a fluid state. Starting from the forms of architectural ornamentation in wrought iron, which she calls robust jewellery. She transforms these decorative elements into fluid and flexible structures, never frozen, remaining in transition as if desiring to take them out of their manly habitat. These scintillating samples can seem like the skin of cyborgs where architecture becomes organic through a metal that seems soft and liquid. The metal of the sculptures presents itself to us as glossy as
the skin of a cyborg or the fluid and caressing metal of a Paco Rabanne dress. In her paintings on metal Marie d’Elbée projects us into another universe, we lose ourselves in a tactile mesh of repetitive landscapes, are we in a seabed inhabited by fur-like sea anemones? No. Sun-Dog: a sun that becomes a dog and a dog that becomes a sun is a microscopic vision as if projected into an infinite space. Rather than being a companion animal, the dog becomes world, one in which we lose ourselves as the scales of the elements merge. This notion of hybridisation of the living also unfolds with Lydia Delikoura and Solanne Bernard. In her ceramics with iridophoric surfaces, Solanne Bernard blurs the status between human, plant and animal. The consciousness is lost in the face of forms that could just as easily be Aloe Vera or octopus tentacles, these alien forms lead us to realise that it is first and foremost nature that created its own repertoire of motifs that can circulate from one living form to another. This idea continues in Lydia Delikoura’s marble sculptures where the motif of nature is present through the use of sacred geometry. The marble movements come as quotations of different geometrical patterns and shapes that are repeated in nature. Representing the circulation of energies, they frame petrified plants in a pink jelly, the artist bypasses the girly archetype of this colour to plunge it into a historical mysticism, which she presents herself by saying: “Pink in this context is used beyond its obvious associations with femininity; a force which binds the sacred with the mundane, the domestic with the industrial. The cultural and spiritual dimensions of pink are challenged; a religio-aesthetic environment which simultaneously gravitates towards the material and earthly. The muted pink Byzantine tiles are a platform for a new dialogue to emerge; they contain multiple layers of time; the iconography pigments in which they bathe radiate a tenderness, a captivating and unthreatening colour which radiates sympathy.” Through the polychromy and polymorphism of their works, it is finally a certain emotional iridescence
that Bregje Sliepenbeek, Lydia Delikoura, Charlotte Nieuwenhuys, Solanne Bernard and Marie d’Elbée speak to us about. They invoke an emotion that demands attention, that slips between forms and through hybridization makes new ones appear. Far from the fantastic, by becoming aware of the plurality of the worlds that surround us, they refuse the normativity that would make it possible to be visible and recognizable at first glance.

A group show with
Solanne Bernard, Lydia Delikoura, Marie d’Elbée, Charlotte Nieuwenhuys and Bergje Sliepenbeek