The St Pancras Church in the center of London sends us signals about the ancient Greeks with the recreation of the Erechtheum, or ‘Porch of the Maidens’, from the Acropolis in Athens. I always get a more gothic feel from the four powerful female figures at the front of the church. Maybe it’s the bright red doors or the streaks of caked-on grime that seem more Victorian than classical? Today the crypt below the Caryatids at the rear of the building is the venue for 40 international artists in the group show called Lingering Whispers, which runs until 06 June 2010.
The challenge put to visitors: “Does self expression flourish under pressure? Is creativity at its most acute in times of social, political and financial crises? More than anything, do the Arts provide hope during periods of extreme difficulty?”
These are questions of hope and prayer fitting for the venue. The Greek Caryatids were at first priestesses for Artemis in the greek village of Karyai. There seems even to be some link with Helen of Troy in ancient times. Regardless, these iconic statues represent the force of female beauty. The Romans used simillar figures in buildings across their Empire. Lord Elgin took one of the original Erectheum Caryatids from the site and brought it to his home in Scotland, later selling it to the British Museum with the Parthenon Marbles. Elgin had also tried to take a second Caryatid, but shattered it in the attempt to remove it.
So maybe the theme of commercialism is also infused into the art, which is of course on sale. Michal Ohana Cole has some interesting pieces made from sliced-up money in the shape of Princess Diana that stir-up, and perhaps confuse, our own sense of value.
Lingering Whispers is at the Crypt, St Pancras Church, Euston Road, London NW1 2BA until 6th June 2010. Entry is free, and the exhibition is open 11am-6pm, with weekly ‘meet the artist’ sessions on Saturdays from 3-4 pm. Check the video below for a taster on what is on offer. Special thanks to artist Michal Ohana Cole and show producer Virginie Puertolas-Syn. More information for LingerWhisper on the web.
St Pancras Church is one of our top 10 places to experience ancient Greece in London – find out what else made our hitlist here.