In Despina Zoë Paul explores the impermanence of life through the lens of ancient mythologies, fertility and femininity. Invited by La Loge, she constructs a narrative through new works and material experiments that depict scenes from both the lively territories above the earth’s surface and, below it, the divine yet obscure underworld. Paul underlines the interdependence of these two spaces through the use of symbols and allegories. Taking a more holistic approach to nature, Paul emphasizes tradition and femininity over more modern forms of relating to the world, and highlights the bounties provided by nature when handled with attention and care.
The exhibition approaches the multiple facets of Despina, daughter of Poseidon and Demeter, as the mistress of the house and the underground deity of nature, birth and death. In Greek the word also refers to “lady”, unfolding a series of associations made by the artist around the notion of femininity. Guided by the mythological figure of Despina, Paul addresses craft as something that has long been considered a feminine and domestic preoccupation, predominantly associated with the confined space of the household. Rather than seeing craft as a way of controlling women within a biased image of femininity, Paul examines how communities and affinities are produced through craft and reproductive labor.