Artist residence / exhibition foam born

A composition of objects and photographs. On the left there is a ceramic statue, depicting a naked female figure on a black background. On it is a photo showing a hand with an open pomegranate in front of the naked breasts of two women. On the right there is a photo of an amphora, representing the birth of Aphrodite. Above the photos there is a black and orange knitted cord. © Peles Empire, courtesy of Eins Gallery

Sat, 17.04.2021 -
Fri, 14.05.2021

eins gallery


3036 Limassol

Artist residence and exhibition of the artist duo Peles Empire

Due to the lockdown, the exhibition is temporarily closed until 8 May 2021. The exhibition will be extended from 10 until 14 May 2021 following the measures and conditions that will be in effect during that time.

The exhibition foam born is the outcome of a three-week artist residency of Peles Empire at eins gallery in Limassol, where the artist duo Barbara Wolff and Katharina Stöver deal with the Cyprus born Goddess Aphrodite.

Peles Empire dissect and reshuffle the supposedly original meaning of somewhere (like the castle Peles), something (like a specific form of architecture), or someone (like Cleopatra or Aphrodite), in order to question what time and culture has made of it.

Aphrodite, the subject of art, mythology and fantasy for millennia, is mostly presented from a male perspective, ascribing her a passive rather than an active role. Throughout the centuries her representation has changed from bird-like or penile clay figurines to bearded representations, or, famously, to Botticelli’s depiction and so also her meaning has shifted.

The partly demonised, partly sexualised perception of Aphrodite is a more recent development; it ignores that for the ancients Aphrodite was a patron not simply for lust, but for a lust for life. An aspect often unmentioned is that she was the goddess of Mixis, celebrating sexuality in its diversity and helping humans to live together.

Aphrodite is also said to have planted the first pomegranate tree on Cyprus. The fruit itself has a long historical tail of references, including the suspicion of it being the “apple” Eve plucked from the tree in the Garden of Eden.

Notions of guilt about curiosity, sexuality and female expression accompany both Aphrodite and the Pomegranate.

Peles Empire was established in 2005 in Frankfurt. Their name is derived from Peleș Castle, a summer residence in the Carpathians of the Romanian royal family. Each of the castle’s hundreds of rooms boasts eclectic interiors, stylistic imitations from diverse architectural epochs, combined in a convoluted structure. The decoration of the halls extends from gothic to rococo to art deco and stages a history that never took place in this form. The principle of assimilation and reproduction is the basis of Peles Empire's artistic practice. The sampling of found structures and their own works draws its added value from the field of tension between reproductive transformation and manual mode of production.

Paper, concrete, tiles and cast stone are part of the artists' repertoire of materials. The components are overlaid, printed, deformed and mixed. It is not only found situations that find a translation in the work, but also their own works and installations are adopted as photographic images or as fragments in later works. Starting from photography as a medium to depict spacial relations in a two-dimensional way, the play between two-dimensional and three-dimensional reproduction is a constant in the work of Peles Empire.

Artists Barbara Wolff (*1980, Fogarasch, Romania, lives in Berlin) and Katharina Stöver (*1982 Gießen, lives in Berlin) are Peles Empire. They studied at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main under Wolfgang Tillmans, Michael Krebber and Hermann Nitsch and at the Slade School of Fine Arts and the Royal Academy School in London. Most recently, their work has  been shown at Barakat Contemporary, Seoul 2020, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, the Timisoara Biennale, Romania 2019, the Künstlerhaus Graz (2019), the Swiss Institute (2018), the Skulptur Projekten Münster (2017), the Kunstverein Hannover (2017), the Kunstverein Kassel (2017) and the Portikus in Frankfurt (2017). Works by Peles Empire are part of the official collections of the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, the European Central Bank, Frankfurt am Main, the Contemporary Art Collection of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bonn, as well as numerous private collections.

Among others they received the Peter Jacobi Prize in 2021, the Berliner Arbeitsstipendium in 2018, Stiftung Kunstfonds in 2016, Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg 2013, and the Hessische Kulturstiftung 2011.

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