Betts Project opens the first retrospective exhibition of the works of Zoe Zenghelis

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Betts Project opens the first retrospective exhibition of the works of Zoe Zenghelis
Zoe Zenghelis, Urban Landscape, 1981. Acrylic on Card, 40 x 49 cm.

LONDON.- Betts Project is hosting ‘Do you remember how perfect everything was?’, the first retrospective exhibition of the works of Zoe Zenghelis. As a two part exhibition with the Architectural Association, Betts Project presents the first part as a review of Zenghelis’ early paintings from the 1960s, her years at OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) including works of the Hotel Sphinx project along side Roosevelt Island, Antiparos and Parc Citroën through to recent works made in 2020. Stretched between abstract metropolitan tectonics and landscape structures, the selection of Zenghelis’ paintings represent an enquiry into absent architectural projects. An exhibition catalogue published by Betts Project accompanies the exhibition, while the second part of the project will be hosted by the AA in Janurary 2021.

“In Zoe Zenghelis’ contained paintings, there is, again paradoxically, a suggestion of space stretching far beyond our perception, a celestial city, without limits. The eye is as absorbed by the space between the forms themselves, set into informal procession. But it is picture making beyond the stage, set somewhere between the contrived and the natural, the abstract and the representational. These imaginary spaces are inspired as much by the urban grid of London, the cities of concrete, as the islands of the Ionian Sea, their whiting gleaming houses bleached by light, the surrounding water both absorbing and reflecting the glittering sky. Space and territory, our own and others, is a question of politics and aesthetics. These paintings hint at imagination’s journey. As the poet E.E.Cummings once phrased it, always the beautiful answer to the beautiful question.” - Marina Vaizey, 1992

Zoe Zenghelis is an Athenian artist who has been living and working in London since her student years. After studying painting in Athens she continued her study in stage design and painting at the Regent Street Polytechnic under Frank Auerbach, Lawrence Gowing, and Leon Kossoff. She started her painting career as a founding member of OMA, whose collaboration with other OMA members has widened their horizons and opened new opportunities for them in painting and architecture. Her paintings for OMA have been exhibited in many museums and galleries. Zenghelis’ independent works as a painter have been widely exhibited and published. The paintings are inspired by metropolitan structure, landform, and abstract tectonics. Yet the imagery is quintessentially modern and modernist: it is an imagery of the fragment, the collage, the assemblage, the parts standing for the whole, and often greater than the whole. From 1982 to 1993, in partnership with Madelon Vriesendorp, she ran the Colour Workshop at the Architectural Association School of Architecture.

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