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Eleni (Selena)
You can find me here: 1.C (WH)

Skin in and Between two Worlds

Pantyhose fabric, thread, wood varnish, wood lacquer, 180x125cm. (2023)

Everyday life practicalities have led Selena Gavala, as many other artists, to rely on, irrelevant to art, jobs that essentially pay the bills. Concurrently, these jobs drain Gavala’s energy and imagination, while forging a barrier between her and the creative process. Rather than letting these factors unaddressed, she incorporates them into her artistic practice. By using her work surroundings/materials (tights and shape-wear), Gavala reverses their original purpose and experience and challenges the imposed body normativity from the perspective of the female artist – worker.

By showcasing the scars that women traditionally aim to conceal under shape/leg-wear (broken veins, mommy bellies, stretch marks), Gavala narrates the bodily experience that women share, experience and recover from. In her practice, instead of concealing such marks, and reshaping the imperfections that burdened her with the guilt of maintaining two identities, that of the creator and the worker, she aims to justify them. Gavala draws a parallel between the bodily imprint of the stretch mark, and the impact of the artistic duality of working to sustain herself and her practice. Therefore, she addresses questions as: Is having a day job the stretch mark of an artist? Can one fully recover from this experience or are they forced to adapt into a new hybrid ‘body’, that of the artist and the worker? Is alienation the feeling of changing inside with no possibility of going back to the previous original self? Or just a strange unshaped inner scar?

Selena Gavala addresses the modern paradox of acquiring skills to work as a professional, outside of the art industry, in hopes of earning money so they can maintain a spot in the artworld. “Living in and between two worlds” represents the idea of splitting oneself between two professions and the inner conflict that comes consequently from impersonating a character of different values and beliefs during the paid working hours. These two worlds collide in this project, and I invite the audience to share with the artist that intense experience.