An artist’s fascination with an ancient myth on display in Paris

The myth of Demeter and Persephone and the Eleusinian Mysteries has been an ongoing subject of interest and research for artist Vana Xenou. For more than a decade, the painter has delved into the symbolism of the myth and has used it as a source of inspiration for some of her strongest and most ambitious artistic projects. «Arrivee-Passage» – a sprawling installation that opens on October 18 at the gardens of the Palais Royal in Paris – is Xenou’s latest venture, a project that expresses her fascination with the ancient Greek myth. Running to December 25, the exhibition – held under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Culture and curated by Solange Auzias de Turenne, an organizer of large, international exhibitions – includes 10 monumental installations of a total of 45 large sculptures. As with other of her projects, Xenou’s Paris project employs a historical site for the display of her work. She brings references to antiquity into a building of French 17th and 18th century architecture, thus initiating a dialogue between two different cultures and historical periods. Xenou’s work suggests that the myth of Demeter, like other Greek myths and archetypes, transcends time and cultural differences and harbors deep symbolisms that are still relevant. Another installation by the artist on the myth of Demeter was held in Paris seven years ago, at the Saint Louis Church of the Salpetriere hospital. In 2004 and within the context of the Aeschylean festival, an exhibition with the same title as the Paris project was held at a venue of industrial architecture in Elefsina, the birthplace of the famed Eleusinian Mysteries of antiquity. Vana Xenou has also produced impressive «artist’s books» with the themes of Demeter and Persephone. Drawings as well as a number of her one-of-a-kind artist’s books will be presented in the exhibition halls of the French Ministry of Culture, which is housed at the Palais Royal. The French ministry is one of the exhibition’s organizers.