Sylvia Kouvali founder and director of Rodeo Gallery certainly knows her way around the art world. With 13 years under her belt running her own gallery, first in Istanbul and now in London and Piraeus, and a vibrant roster of artists who live and work across the globe, she’s an accomplished gallerist, not to mention a seasoned traveller. We recently caught up with Sylvia to ask her about her favourite artworks, exhibitions and places.
Your favourite artwork.
The answer to that question changes very often. Nowadays I am thinking a lot of the work of Patti Hill. She was an American writer turned artist, considered the queen of photocopies as she made incredible prints of everyday items in this way. She was friends with Charles Eames who helped her get an IBM photocopy machine which she loved and did most of her work on. A favourite piece is an image of a dead swan she found outdoors which she placed on her Xerox copy machine to create this very strange black and white copier print titled A Swan: An Opera in Nine Chapters (detail from Chapter 1) from 1978. Although the animal is no longer alive, it is such a vivid piece.
Best studio visit in Athens.
Apostolos Georgiou – by far!
It’s a life experience that entails coffee, cigarettes, loud jazz tunes and vine philosophy next to the most incredibly sensitive large paintings of fragile masculine moments and bizarre human situations. Located close to the sea, in the artist’s home in the Athens suburb of Voula, it does feel like being transported to another time, set in a meta-modern interior.
Upcoming area in Athens.
I feel that the whole city of Athens is up and coming, so pick what suits your way of living.
Favourite exhibition you recently visited or planning to.
I loved the Forgotten Masters: Indian Painting for the East India Company at
the Wallace Collection, the drawings were extraordinary.
Looking forward to the Aubrey Beardsley retrospective at Tate Britain
– it just opened so I have not seen it yet – the ink drawings of this great master
are emanate decadence and eroticism.
[Both exhibitions are temporarily closed]
Your favourite means of transportation.
Love travelling by train, if London and Athens had a direct line
I would most certainly live in a cabin. In London, where I spend a lot of time,
I ride my red Brompton bicycle that is fast and foldable and takes me everywhere.
In Athens I do taxi.
The most valuable object.
My passport! What would I be without it…
Upcoming artist to watch.
Sidsel Meineche Hansen and Ulrike Müller – look out for those ladies!
Favourite place in Athens
Pedion tou Areos park, for morning and early evening walks, runs
and flower picking, bird watching.
Ulrike Müller, Container, vitreous enamel on steel, 39.4 x 30.5 cm, 2019
Favourite piece in a museum.
At the moment is a piece by Paul Thek, called Hippopotamus Poison
from 1969 that is part of MoMA’s collection.
Thek was inspired by the Roman Catholic tradition, encapsulating in this
piece the paranoia of his time - or at least how he felt then.
And it feels so timely!
My style icon/s
Vaslav Nijinsky and Billie Eilish. There is something between those two figures that creates a neo-goth-orientalism that I feel connected to. Also, they’re both super classy.
Thankfully they all are so close: I love a glass of wine from the great selection of my neighbour and good friend Yiannis Kaimenakis in Piraeus and then a daily dose of fruit sorbet from BON BON the patisserie next to Rodeo.
Left: Vaslav Nijinsky in ‘Les Orientales’, photographed by Eugène Druet, 1911. - Right: Billie Eilish. Photographed by Kenneth Cappello