Words by Kika Reinhardt
The end of February marks the close of what must have been the Pacific Design Center’s best show yet of 2017, MythoErotics. A spellbinding exhibition exploring the relationship between two people, or one’s self, through the frame of mythology and eroticism. A collection of large scale mono prints, as well as sketches and ink drawings, artists Diane and Theodore manage to create a jovial and powerful representation of the turbulent, perpetual, and gripping power of love. An additional element to their work lies in the therm of « epiphania » which in Greek means simultaneously « surface » / « that which is revealed. The artists take on superficiality revolves around the physical and visual moment when two beings, or objects meet. What they call, “A thin line at the meeting point of natural elements, human bodies, and emotional encounters, a timeless horizon in which their radically black and white narratives spurs and evolve.” However, this representation is far from conventional, as they play with the boundaries of the word, and bring a jovial and humanized portrayal to the subject.!
Diane is a french-born graphic designer and art director, experienced and educated in fields such as graphic design, illustration, photography and writing. The other creative force behind MythoErotics is born of Greek descent. Theodore grew up in Paris, and is a poet, a sea man and a sculptor. As said in their manifesto, they present themselves as ‘ the two halves of the artist’, and this sense of duality was clear as they welcomed me into their space and I was taken through the exhibition and guided with their perspectives and explanations.
The space is expansive as the enormous prints, designed to be used as wallpaper, cover the walls. It is the perfect set up for the work, which is site-specific, and the pieces are striking in their idiosyncrasy. The exhibition features Diane and Theodore’s interpretation of Greek myths; an example of this is a wall sized mono-print of Odysseus on his raft surrounded by mermaids, in a scene of total erotica. The traditional version of the story is renewed to be sexual and full of life and exuberance. Not only is the artistry in this piece extremely intricate, but the style of their drawing brings the water, sails, and bodies to life. The sexual representation that is brought to this classic tale is not vulgar, but human, and will no doubt bring a smile to the viewers. This sense of cheer and light hearted-ness in the subject is endlessly refreshing, and unique to Diane and Theodore’s work. It is in this aspect that they capture greek mythology with such liveliness; the outrageousness of the characters, and also the very human and mortal side of them. !
My personal favorite, although extremely hard to choose, is a smaller scale ink drawing. This pieces takes the classic myth of Prometheus, who was chained to the Mountain of Khvamili, where in eternal punishment his liver is eaten daily, only to regenerate, again and again. However, in Diane and Theodore’s representation, Prometheus is female, and in place of the mountain, it is herself that holds her. It is in this work that I felt complete awe. The artists have created a truly intimate drawing, that overflows with emotion. Their ability to capture the human relationship inside of this myth, and the aspects within that such as attachment, intimacy, freedom, is a monumental triumph. The manner in which this drawing demonstrates complete understanding of love, is also seen in both Diane and Theodore. As they guided me through the exhibition, their eloquence and demeanors proved just how in touch they are, not only with each other as artists and individuals, but with their work and the profound meanings that lie within their art.!
Although the Pacific Design Center is the first home to their large frescoes, they have shown smaller drawings in spots such as New York City’s Cafe Henrie, as well as Silverlake’s hotspot, The Friend. However, their showings don’t stop here, for in the next few months the artistic duo will be having exhibitions in Paris, as well as Athens, where much of their work is produced.!
In a time where myths have been forgotten in our modern lives, and love seems to continually be disconnected from its core ideology and meaning, Mytho Erotics finds a rare and distinctive voice that brings viewers deeper within themselves to rediscover these things that have since been lost on us. An undeniable achievement that Diane and Theodore deserve great praise for.