With her creations, a visual artist sheds light on a timely topic
– that of medication and healing
By DESPOINA SAMPSON
TRANSFORMATIONS OF REALITY
Art is not intransigent. And this quality was something the visual artist Peggy Kliafa recognized early on, when she transitioned from Marketing to the School of Fine Arts.
Having graduated with honors, she eventually followed a different career trajectory, giving in to the allure of the artistic creation.
With her unique art, she transforms everyday life, adding a new perspective. Medicines and, more specifically, pills and their packaging become works of art in her hands. “Medicines touch upon so many different concepts and aspects of life and reality that I’m often left impressed and thus it becomes the theme, material and vehicle of my work. What’s more, medicines and their packaging come in such an abundance of colors, shapes, textures and have this ability to transform from everyday “invisible objects” into valuable art media, creating connotations, surprise and humor. They fascinate me.” As she admits “although medication and healing have always been linked to my work, the reality we are faced with renders some of my pieces particularly relevant.”
One such work is “Breathing Booth & The Cost of Breathing”, presented in 2017 in the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens (EMST) during “documenta 14”. It was a
utopian – for its time – proposal to place “breathing booths” in the city centers, with vending machines “selling” oxygen, masks and inhalers. Today, in Hong Kong, there are
vending machines of medical masks to fight Covid – 19, proving the prophetic power of art. In the installation “Imagined Homes”, presented in the 6 th Biennale of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, four religious stained glass windows, made of empty pills’ blisters bring back the question of deifying medication and of humans’ tendency to turn to religion when faced with insurmountable difficulties. In the “Bacteria” series, which use parts of pills blisters to represent bacterial colonies, the problem -bacteria- coexists with its solution -the medicines-, illness alongside with remedy, life alongside with death in extremis. Finally, her “Chandelier” allows empty, transparent gelatin capsules to transmute into “crystals” and create a special type of chandelier, which shines upon us when we need the light of medicines more than ever. In 2021 Peggy Kliafa participated in a big online exhibition at CUNY New York, and the exhibition/international social project “Art on Boards” at Zoumboulakis Galleries, Athens. She is also about to upload her art to Snark.art (in NFT form) and on Artsy.net through galleries abroad, and take part in the “Level Up” exhibition at Maddox Gallery, Los Angeles.