Eleni Nicodemou

With pencil and thread....

Pencil, cloth and thread, three simple materials, came from the beginning of the world in one way or the other, when man trying to survive in the wild understood that it would be easier to succeed if it worked in groups. Thus, the first societies were created, the first rules- laws, the basic principles and the values ​​of this coexistence. The first people sacrificed a piece of freedom for their safety and survival. In their need to communicate better with each other, they devised writing by drawing traces on rocks. This, the first script, were images that depicted the nature around them with symbols. This script was later developed into a language. The unspoken cries and gestures were transformed into vowels, likewise, sounds obeyed the rules of the Alphabet. 

The communication between them has laid the foundation stone for civilization. Securing food, as well as life, became easier. The fibers from the trees became the thread man used to sew the first clothes to cover his nakedness, protect himself from the cold, and later by proceeding in more complex forms to invent weaving. The daily bread was no longer his only need. His need for communication drove the evolution of modern cultures.

All this now became a distant memory that fades. But there are times of change, bringing them upside down. Our certainties now, with a “delete” suddenly and unexpectedly, are erased and chaos prevails. When the economy of a whole country collapses like a paper tower in one night, the internal balances of each one of us, even our fairy tales, collapse at the same time.

And when you see that your fairy tales are fairy tales no more, then you feel the need to grab the thread from the start. Re-learn the alphabet from A to Z and give back the words their original meaning. You must learn again the simple acts of mathematics, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division ... The child in you yells how did I forget them...

In this exhibition three units coexist, they are woven by a thread that unites them. They are connected by the simplicity of the materials, the pencil, the embroidery the cloth.

The first unit is about childhood innocence, it carves on the man's shirt or the dress the traces left by the child that once was. This child, facing the world, asked questions incessantly about everything, until he got the answers he searched. He is thirsty to find the lost innocence, the one that once pushed him away from a world that is greedy and incomprehensible that hurts and kills beauty without answering to anything. He seeks to find those eyes that look at him like sky. Those who were looking at a rose to open and felt the immediate kinship, those eyes that continue to be surprised.

The second unit deals with "Breaking of the Bread". This bread that unites Cultures from the beginning of the world as a basic food. He seeks to find that sweet taste of a piece of bread. They say that the memory of the taste is the strongest, since it carries the poison and perspiration of the people over the centuries. This memory is now drawn with pencils, the fingerprints that left the hands in the kneading of the bread, rebuilding all the stages of its manufacturing process. He tries to decipher the story. Embroidery becomes the reason that tells a bittersweet taste ....

The third unit "Penelope's Veils", was created as part of my participation in "Paphos 17" for the exhibition "Weaving Europe". A Europe that seeks a common identity by weaving and unweaving. It is an installation in space that seeks the traces left by Penelope walking through the years and times through the cultures and constantly changing faces. Whether she is called Penelope, Helen, Clytemnestra, Iphigeneia, Juliet, or Jeanne d'Arc, Athena, Mary Curie, Medea or Malala Yousafzai, Callas, Virgin Mary or Mother Teresa, Anna Frank or Florence Nightingale. It penetrates the ancient and modern faces of Penelope, which sometimes impress and at times horrify. With the thread she embroiders and maps the paths and passions.

With pencil, thread and cloth, we rewrite a fairy tale that comes alive.

Eleni Nicodemou

Nicosia, 30 April 2018

Eleni Nicodemou was born in Alona, Cyprus. She obtained a degree in Economics at the Athens School of Economics and Business (Athens, Greece, 1973-1977). She then studied painting and graphic arts at the  École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (Paris, France, 1978-1983) and was a resident at the Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris, France, 1981-1984).

Her work is part of various public and private collections in Greece, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Japan and the United States of America. In 1986 she was awarded the Matisse Prize by the Embassy of France in Nicosia, Cyprus.

From 1993 onwards Eleni Nicodemou lives and works in Cyprus. Her work includes painting, graphic art, comics and street art.  


"With pencil and thread...." is a mixed media exhibition of Eleni Nicodemou at Gloria Gallery. May 24 - June 24, 2018