Stemming from the sacred energy of traditional sculpture halls, The Sialia Marbles (Sigh-ar-lia) is an ode to the artist’s fleeting imagination.
Created over three years, The Sialia Marbles will be presented at MMX Gallery as a collection of over 40 unique hand coloured photographic prints. Each print forms part of a larger fictional anthology, illustrating fragments of tales Katie Eleanor finds sanctuary within.
When viewed together as a collection, The Sialia Marbles becomes a wing of Eleanor’s own Le Musee Imaginaire (Museum without Walls): An idea initially proposed in 1947 by Andre Malraux, defined as, ‘the personal or cultural mental storehouse of images of the noblest works of art’ (Haley, 2002). Malraux’s saw the ability of art to transcend metamorphosis: where time may alter their meaning or they may fall into obscurity. Eleanor expands this idea to mean that the dialogue of art history should exist within each person’s imagination with photographic representations of arts being the best method to support each person’s fictional museum: photographs become an accessible earthly embodiment of individual thoughts, and as an extension they are the only lasting relic of each ephemeral performance of the characters in The Sialia Marbles.
During the beginning of the ‘Museum Age’ in the 18th century, writer Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe discussed mythical sculpture as living in a world where they ‘reign in splendid isolation’ (On the Laocoon Group, 1798); a description which sings in melody with the dissociative nature of the artist’s mind. In reaction, Eleanor casts stories in a form of fictional rigor mortis, through the symbolic reference to the weight and endurance of marble sculpture. Tableau’s react only within themselves: anatomist studies corpse, a creature is hunted, angels embrace the sanctuary of one another. Within the anthology, Eleanor’s own fragments of visual tales are complemented by visual references to characters (and their artists) who have become beautiful stains on her own visual tapestry, such as Daphne and Saint Lucy.
The Siala Marbles are each cracked, amputated, narratives, stemming from subconscious feelings and lacking any hardened structure. Pictorially solidifying them becomes a medicine, ensuring the artist is able to hold onto them for a little while longer.
Katie Eleanor (b.1993) is a photographic artist living and working in London. She studied Photographic Arts at University of Westminster, graduating in 2015. Her practice revolves around illustrating enigmatic narratives that bridge the gap between fantasy and reality. Once she has a concept for her stories, she paints the performer(s), dresses them up and creates the sets to photograph them.
Using analog photography and contemporary printing techniques, the resulting black and white prints are then meticulously hand-coloured by the artist. Katie’s work has received press by The Royal Photographic Society, and her fashion stories have been published by magazines such as Hunger and Notion.
Her latest body of work, The Sialia Marbles, presented at MMX Gallery, is her second exhibition in the gallery and her first solo show.