Louise Giovanelli Muses on Ancient Greek 'Maenads' in New Exhibition

On view at White Cube Hong Kong.

Art
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British artist Louise Giovanelli has unveiled a new solo exhibition at White Cube Hong Kong. Based in Manchester, Giovanelli creates luminous paintings that oscillate between figuration and abstraction, representation and materiality, as she draws from art historical traditions, from the Renaissance to film.

Here on Earth presents a new series of oil paintings entitled Maenad (2023–24). Similar to her Entheogen (2023) body of work, Giovanelli recreates women paused in moments of tension and ecstasy that are inspired by 1980s film stills and titled after the women followers of Bacchus (Dionysus in Greek mythology), who represented the god of wine, fertility, festivity, ritual madness, religious ecstasy and theatre.

Giovanelli latest works embark on an exploration into revelation, as she alludes to the transcendental drinking rituals of Ancient Greece. Her process invovles often recreating the same image repeatedly, observing small changes from one composition to another, such as in Harmony (2024), where two women are seen kissing, their mouths subtly forming the linear shape of the Chinese yin and yang — which denotes two opposing but interconnected forces.

Threadsoul (2024), the largest painting on view, depicts a large curtain similarly painted in a euphoric color palette. Giovanelli plays on the idea that curtains are used to reveal and conceal spectacle. Set in a medley of fluorescent greens, yellows and oranges, Giovanelli’s threshold is heavily pleated, but “permanently closed,” wrote a release by White Cube, “it signals a promise of spectacle, of revelation and surprise from Giovanelli’s cast of performers – one that can never be fulfilled.”

In the past, she’s noted that “a painting should be the beginning of something,” adding that the “best paintings are those that endure in your mind – because there’s this sense of mystery to them.” Here on Earth is on view at White Cube Hong Kong until May 18.

White Cube
50 Connaught Road Central
Hong Kong

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