- By Misty Gaze.
I am residing in Athens again – researching here the world of the old comedies performed at the Dionysus theatre. Living very close I pass by often. Reading Aristophanes’ plays especially. The Birds have for sure caught my interest, it made me laugh out loud, sitting there on the terrace with a corner view of the Acropolis, close to the Dionysus theatre. What a play, so current, funny, so precise and so perfect in perspective to PLUMES. To create a new land between the Gods and here on earth only inhabited by birds…humans as birds.
Opposite the terrace with a corner view of the Acropolis, close to the Dionysus theatre, are a few palm trees – screamingly poison green parrots are fighting for the small space in the palm trees, their sharp piercing fighting cries sound above the square, in the silent afternoon siesta atmosphere.
Earlier today I went to the Museum of Cycladic Art, visiting the old sculptures, potteries and Athenian life, and also to explore an exhibition by Lynda Benglis (b. 1941), In the Realm of the Senses, the American artists’ first solo show in Athens. One of the first pieces on display in the rooms is a large organic shaped aluminum sculpture, called Wing from 1970-1975. In the description of the exhibition is mentioned Benglis’s allusions to Greek culture and art, especially its ancient sculpture – notably the Winged Victory of Samothrace (c. 220-190 BCE), clad in swirling drapery – here assume a new importance. A clear sense of the ancient sculptures of the winged Nike is felt, and it makes me want to work also in aluminum as clay, marble, stones and other strong materials, next to textiles and soft feathery approaches. Working with the forms of drapery and textiles, pompons and feathers is such a large part of women’s art, also here, and of the ancient sculptures here, trying to capture the shapes when drawing can seem almost impossible, but as concentration kicks in, so does the lines, in the marble statues and the light it forms and creates depending on how it is lit and what time of day it is.
My stay here in Athens has changed somewhat, instead of taking a thorough almost academic approach to researching the old comedies and ‘theatre in nature, and nature in theatre’, it has become a research trip of life here now, with many evenings outside, eating Greek dishes, drinking red wine and exploring life and the noises and music here in the warm nights, the vibe of immense energy and livelihood, and community. It has become a trip of rediscovering a huge respect about theatre, acting and playwrighting. The inspirations are bubbling, eagerly, immensely curious to what will come next, what will be created, what Phoenix will rise from the ashes and with what wings will it fly away? The underground theatre in Athens is experimental, interesting, has a vivid sense of the antique comedies and drama brought up to date – it’s intriguing. And the same with the music scene, it’s old fashioned yet new and fresh with an energy I have not found in other places for a long time. As goes for the city where areas are covered in street- and graffiti art. Athens rejuvenates me, and I want to paint, draw, build sculptures, act, write and even play music and sing (the last two things which I am really bad at). It’s all flying in the air, and in my body, picking up new encouragement from each other. I wish I could live in this air forever, dancing.