Over the past decade, Eleni Bagaki’s practice has developed around the creation of autofiction that takes the form of paintings, sculptures, drawings, texts, books, videos, and notes. Despite its diversity, her work revolves around a fixed nucleus of concepts that include the drive to find oneself, a sense of belonging, and a connection with others. Blurring the boundaries of personal experience and imagined events, she brings into play subversive strategies of humour and sarcasm to construct a visual and linguistic microcosm around female subjectivity and sexuality, gender representations, the role of the female artist as a working subject, wandering and leisure as artistic methodologies. Returning to her birthplace, Greece, after a period of continuous nomadic roaming as an artist-in-residence, whereby she explored "leaving as living," as a means of seeking a vital space of existence, she shifted towards painting as a means to reconnect with materiality and her roots.
"Something like a poem, a nude, and flowers in a vase," her most recent solo exhibition at the National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens (EMST), featured a collection of new and recent paintings. In the paintings, solitary nude figures stand or interact in idyllic landscapes, bathed in the colours of dusk. In this dreamy state of roaming and observation of desire, female subjectivity, sexuality, and sexual quest, she explores ways to depict contemporary bodies and their hybrid, ambiguous, and diffuse sexual identities. Casting an eroticized and compassionate glance upon her subjects in quest of intimacy and connection, even though she is not portrayed,she is present in the painting. And finally, by inverting the predominantly phallocentric approach to the female nude in the history of painting, she articulates her own understanding of pleasure and voyeuristic desire through the prism of female subjectivity and sexuality.
Art Historian, Curator
Eleni Bagaki is an artist and writer based in Athens. She holds an MA in Fine Arts from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London. Drawing inspiration from feminist approaches, she uses her work to explore autobiography and its relationship to fiction through texts, videos, sound, painting, and sculpture. She has taken part in exhibitions and artist residency programs internationally: Hordaland Kunstsenter, Bergen (2020), Fogo Island Arts, Fogo Island (2019), Iaspis, Stockholm (2018-2019), Pivô, Sao Paolo (2018), and the Kantor Foundation, Krakow (2017). Her solo exhibitions include, indicatively: “Something like a poem, a nude, and flowers in a vase” (EMST - National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens, 2023), “She left, she left again, she left once more”, (Aghios Rokkos, Chania, 2022), “Reclining Artist, the Artist is reclining” (Eleni Koroneou Gallery, Athens, 2021), “Falling into whispers and kisses”, (Chauffer Gallery, Sydney, 2021), “A book, a film, and a soundtrack” (Radio Athènes, Athens, 2018), “The importance of reading, writing, and exfoliating” (Palette Terre, Paris, 2018), “Economy Class” (Signal, Malmo, 2016-2017), and “Now You See Me, Oh Now You Don’t” (New Studio, London, 2015-2016). Some of her published books are Butter and Cracker, dolce, 2022, She left. She left again. She left once more, 2022, No script, 2017, and Look for love and find a log instead, Tadeusz Kantor Foundation, 2017.
She is represented by Eleni Koroneou gallery in Athens.