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Irini Bachlitzanaki, Prickly Pears in the Sun, 2020. Part of Patio Project, curated by Georgia Stephenson. Image: Georgia Stephenson

Irini Bachlitzanaki and Georgia Stephenson

Please tell us who you are and what you’ve been working on recently.

IB: Originally from Athens, Greece, I first came to the U.K. to study History of Art at UCL. From there I moved on to study Fine Art at Saint Martins, Chelsea, and the Royal Academy Schools from where I graduated in the summer of 2021. Within a practice that is primarily sculptural, I combine a range of different material processes to interrogate the relationship of sculpture to other forms of representation and also the relationship of making works of art to different forms of production, artefacts and commodities. Most recently I worked on a solo exhibition which brought together a selection of older and new textile works as part of the Wolfson College Royal Academy Schools Graduate Prize. The show is on at Wolfson College, Cambridge until the beginning of January.

GS: I’m a curator and art director based in London, originally from Nottinghamshire. I graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2015 and have been curating independently ever since. My focus often centres around supporting emerging sculptors with exhibition-making, and developing new way and reactive ways to present artworks to audiences. Recently I worked with a Russian-based collective to offer an international open call for sculptors to create new works that were specifically made for film, in order for sculptors to engage with the prevalent 'online exhibition'. I like to work closely with artists so that my curation can respond to supporting their needs and enable, rather than demand of them.

What drew you to each other’s practice?

We worked together once before as part of Georgia’s ‘Patio Project’, a graduate summer sculpture programme hosted in her back garden, in response to the cancellation of degree shows in the summer of 2020.

In Irini’s installation for ‘Patio Project’ a group of slip-cast terracotta Prickly Pear plants seemed to grow alive from solid concrete slabs.

We really enjoyed working together and have since stayed in touch following the development of each other’s practice.

Georgia’s interest in unusual sites for art display, a cornerstone of her curatorial practice which has resulted in exhibitions in window displays, heritage sites, transport and domestic dwellings resonated with my own studio practice, my ongoing interest in notions of display and making exhibitions, my fascination with material culture, the biographies of objects and ongoing exploration into the agency of material things.

We wanted to focus on aspects of our respective practices that we both enjoy about each other's work, but also ones that could feed into each other and also be useful for our future solo endeavours. At the same time, we wanted to explore an area that would be relatively open-ended and that would allow us to work together again in the future should we want to.

How will you use the 1:1 FUND?

Drawing on our practices’ points of convergence our ambition is to develop a new collaborative project as a framework within which to explore notions of display, experiment with different display strategies and think about presentation and exhibition-making as means to activate sites, objects and audiences. We envision our collaboration as a dialogue, an ongoing conversation that prompts and enables site to influence art-making and vice versa. The largest chunk of our funded time will be allocated to collaborative working structured around both studio visits / sessions and site visits. As part of the project we also plan to chronicle the exchange between us in an accessible way – a website or publication – and our initial thinking is that photography could be a key medium for documentation.

 

www.irinibachlitzanaki.com

@Irini_b

 

www.stephensongeorgia.com

@georgialaurenstephenson