Clytemnestra has been mythologised as the OG bad wife. Taking a lover while her husband was fighting at Troy, and murdering him upon his victorious return, may fairly provide the grounds for this reputation. What this does not consider is Clytemnestra’s motives: upon discoverin that Agamemnon murdered their beloved daughter, Iphigeneia, in order to appease the gods, we may somewhat reconsider. Upon being told that Agamenon in fact made something of a
habit of murdering Clytemnestra’s children, our loyalties may begin to seriously shift.

Clytemnestra utilised the ten years Agamemnon is at war to deftly plot her revenge. Set on murder, and whiling away the days until she can take this revenge with a lover in her bed, she was the embodiment of Greek men’s ancient neurosis about women: unfaithful, dishonest, and bloodthirsty. It may be said that this neurosis lingers today.

Upon his eventual return, Agamemnon presents his war prize: the Trojan princess Cassandra who he has taken as his sex slave. Clytemnestra feigns delight in her husband’s return. She runs him a warm bath, very convincingly playing the part of dutiful wife. Once he is in this fatal bath, Clytemnestra entraps him in a cloth net, before murdering him with an axe (or in some versions, a sword). The inclusion of this cloth net in Agamemnon’s murder is fascinating. Here, Clytemnestra turns convention on its head. In the ancient world, the practice of weaving embodied the ‘good wife’. Here, it becomes a weapon of brutal slaughter by that same fair hand.

Still not satisfied, Clytemnestra goes on to kill Cassandra too. This is a dark deed, perpetrated upon a woman who had been brought into Clytemnestra’s house against her will, but by a woman driven to such destruction by an all-consuming grief.

Why is Clytemnestra the OG bad wife, and yet Agamemnon has escaped history's animosity almost unscathed? Surely he is one of the worst husbands...ever? And yet we don’t remember it that way. Why? Context matters. Clytemnestra was bad because Agamemnon was worse.

Clytemnestra is an unequivocally unlikeable character. She plots, cheats and murders. However, when we consider what drove her to these extremes (the unprompted murder of her children - yes, more than one - by her own husband) we may begin to see her less as a wanton murderer, and more as an avenging queen.

Perhaps, we can go even further. Natalie Haynes believes so: “for wronged, silenced, unvalued [women], she is something of a hero: a woman who refuses to be quiet when her child is killed, who disdains to accept things and move on, who will not make the best of what she has” (2020:171). In this way, Clytemnestra is a thoroughly modern woman. She is scorned, angry, underestimated. She is real.

What we want to know, is:
Who is Clytemnestra today?


Continue exploring...




How to Apply


Please submit your proposals to contact.kleio.collective@gmail.com by 11:59PM SUN 22 AUGUST 2021 Sucessfull submission will be presented in an online exhibition on our website, here on www.kleiocollective.co.uk , launching in September 2021.


For more on how to apply, click the button below. ☟



The Open Call Guide is also available as a PDF. ☟




Penelope, long-suffering spouse of Odysseus, is to us the ultimate paradigm of wifeliness. Even within our modern society, her name remains a byword for patience, loyalty, and stoicism. Waving goodbye to her husband as he set sail for war, she would not see him again for twenty years. During this time, we are told, she remains the model of forbearance and fidelity (unlike the man she awaits). With no word of her husband for twenty years, this is admittedly impressive.

What do we know of Penelope beyond her unrivalled, unhuman patience? “This is the great difficulty - finding Penelope among [the] praise heaped upon her by men. Are they describing her or merely describing their idealized version of what a wife should be?” (Haynes, 2020:283). Has Penelope unwillingly become a conduit for thousands of years of domestic male fantasy? Faithfully awaiting a faithless husband, keeping the home fires burning to warm him upon his
return.

And yet, as always, there is more to this cardboard cutout of idealised femininity than meets the eye. During the years Odysseus is away fighting, Penelope is forging a battle of her own. As his absence lengthens, so does her home begin to fill with men wishing to take his place.

In an effort to stall these dreaded suitors, Penelope crafts and enacts an ingenious scheme to delay her seemingly inevitable remarriage. She promises the men who fill her palace that once she has completed the shroud she is weaving for her father in law, Laertes, she will succumb to their demands. She is seemingly dedicated to this task- weaving all day for years on end. What these unobservant suitors do not realise, preoccupied as they are with eating and drinking their prospective wife out of house and home, is that her weaving extends into the night. Her hours of darkness are spent painstakingly unweaving her day’s work, so that each morning she returns to square one, buying another day of freedom.

Like Clytemnestra, the antithesis of Penelope in almost every other way, Penelope uses the innocent and feminised reputation of weaving to her advantage, entrapping those who underestimate her in her threads of cunning. Ultimately, this strategy is what ensures her freedom. She is her own hero, saving herself for a husband who, unbeknownst to her, shares a bed with almost every nymph, witch and mortal he encounters on his long journey home.

As we have gathered, Penelope’s unrivalled devotion and loyalty are pretty well known. What is less commonly considered is her immense intelligence, cunning and bravery in a world where women rarely held the keys to their own fate. In this light, Penelope the passive become Penelope the punchy. We begin to question this alternate side of her character, to ask, who is the woman beyond the unwavering patience? And to marvel at her agency.

What we want to know is,
Who is Penelope today?


Continue exploring...




How to Apply


Please submit your proposals to contact.kleio.collective@gmail.com by 11:59PM SUN 22 AUGUST 2021 Sucessfull submission will be presented in an online exhibition on our website, here on www.kleiocollective.co.uk , launching in September 2021.


For more on how to apply, click the button below. ☟



The Open Call Guide is also available as a PDF. ☟





We know medusa as the snake-haired monster whose murderous gaze turned men to stone: not the sexual abuse survivor who, cursed by a jealous God, hid from the world and was beheaded by a fame-hungry hero as she slept.

Medusa began life as a beautiful mortal woman, famed for her glorious hair. Due to these lustrous locks, Poseidon (God of the Sea), took a fancy to her. In the Greek world, Gods gowhat they wanted, often by the most nefarious of means. The most popular version of the myth tells us that Poseidon raped Medusa, unwisely choosing a temple dedicated to Athene (Godess of War) for the location of his attack. This defilement of her temple was a great slight tothe goddess, who wrought revenge not by punishing the perpetrator, Poseidon, but instead by transforming Medusa into a Gorgon. Replacing her famous hair with snakes, and giving her a stare that had the power to turn any living creature to stone, Athene ensured that Medusa guilty of nothing but being born a woman, would never tempt a man, or God, again.

Thus transformed, and unable to meet the gaze of another living creature without causing the immediate death, Medusa took refuge in a cave. Despite this, she was still unable to avoid the violent whims of men. Perseus, a Greek her famed for his destructive tendencies, selected Medusa as his next target. Creeping into her cave, and using his shield to look at her reflection, he decapitated her while she slept.

He then placed her head into a magic bag and was chased away by Medusa’s sisters. This is not the heroic act Medusa’s murder is traditionally painted as.

After decapitating Medusa, Perseus used her lethal head to wreak death and destruction on a far larger scale than Medusa herself did when her head was attached to her body. He battled giants and monsters, objectifying her image to the extent that she becomes only another weapon for this greek hero to kill with.

At the centre of this myth lies the enduring fear of the female gaze, and the havoc it can wreak. Perseus beheads Medusa in order to destroy this gaze. It is not difficult to observe the echoes of this narrative within our own present.

Again, we see the mirror of our society in Medusa’s plight: she is a survivor of sexual assault, metaphorically vilified, literally turned into a monster. Reframed as the perpetrator when she is consistently the victim. Blamed for her beauty, blamed for her gaze.

What we want to know is:
Who is Medusa today?


Continue exploring...




How to Apply


Please submit your proposals to contact.kleio.collective@gmail.com by 11:59PM SUN 22 AUGUST 2021 Sucessfull submission will be presented in an online exhibition on our website, here on www.kleiocollective.co.uk , launching in September 2021.


For more on how to apply, click the button below. ☟



The Open Call Guide is also available as a PDF. ☟


Medusa has come to mean so much to so many. Like the snakes that make her hair, she has a thousand skins, a hundred tongues, and too many lives to count. We want to unravel these skins, to untie these tongues, to see Medusa in all her multiplicities, to ask:

Who is Medusa to you?

The design of Kleio’s Medusa exhibition plays on the traditional childhood game of Snakes and Ladders, subverting the accepted rules of the game, which acted as an ancient moral guide for children within which the ladders represent virtues, and the snakes, evils. Playing this version, landing upon a snake means you move down the board, toward failure. In our version, the snakes are a means for players to reach the top of the board, toward victory. In doing so, we are playfully attempting to challenge hundreds of years of negative symbolism associated with the figure of the snake, and thereby Medusa. Kleio invites you to “play along” - make your way to the top with the help of our snakes, borrowed from Medusa’s famous head for this very purpose.

Medusa represents the first edition of Kleio’s series Myth Interrupted (inspired by Natalie Haynes’ book Pandora’s Jar), a digital curatorial series that seeks to explore what the women of Greek myth have come to mean to us in the present day. We invite artists to share their Medusa with us, reimagined for the confused and crazed world that is the 21st century. So far, Medusa showcases the work of over 20 international artists. However, we encourage you to submit your work and contribute to our ever-changing game of snakes and ladders, creating a board that will shift and change like a snake shedding its skin.





The Myth

Many hundreds of years of myth have painted, sketched and written Medusa as the antithesis to desire, a shrieking shrine to male disgust. She is the snake-haired monster whose murderous gaze turns men to stone.  Within her hissing locks lies every female transgression, she is salacious; savage; ugly; loud; angry; dangerous. She does not want to be loved.

This image is so familiar to us because we absorbed it with our coco pops when our toes barely touched the floor, flitting across our screens in shades of the green-skinned, forked tongued gorgons hungry for misfortune that haunted our favourite stories. 

It may surprise many to discover that in her earliest form, Medusa was none of these things. She was not immoral, repulsive, wild. She was in fact a sexual abuse survivor who, cursed by a jealous God, hid from the world and was beheaded by a fame-hungry hero as she slept.

Here is that version of the story: Medusa began life as a beautiful mortal woman, famed for her glorious hair. Due to these lustrous locks, Poseidon (God of the Sea), took a fancy to her. In the Greek world, Gods got what they wanted, often by the most nefarious of means. The most popular version of the myth tells us that Poseidon raped Medusa, unwisely choosing a temple dedicated to Athene (Goddess of War) for the location of his attack. This defilement of her temple was a great slight to the goddess, who wrought revenge not by punishing the perpetrator, Poseidon, but instead by transforming Medusa into a Gorgon. Replacing her famous hair with snakes, and giving her a stare that had the power to turn any living creature to stone, Athene ensured that Medusa, guilty of nothing but being born a woman, would never tempt a man, or God, again.

Thus transformed, and unable to meet the gaze of another living creature without causing their immediate death, Medusa took refuge in a cave, hiding in an attempt to protect her potential victims. Despite this, she was still unable to avoid the violent whims of men. Perseus, a Greek hero famed for his destructive tendencies, selected Medusa as his next target. Creeping into her cave, and using his shield to look at her reflection, he decapitated her while she slept. He then placed her head into a magic bag fled. A bolting hero, a sleeping woman: This is not the heroic act Medusa’s murder is traditionally painted as.

After murdering Medusa, Perseus used her lethal head to wreak death and destruction on a far larger scale than Medusa herself did when her head was still attached to her body. He battled giants and monsters, objectifying her image to the extent that she becomes only another weapon for this Greek hero to kill with.

Again and again we see our own society mirrored in Medusa’s plight: She is a survivor of sexual assault, metaphorically vilified, literally turned into a monster. Reframed as the perpetrator when she is consistently the victim. Blamed for her beauty, blamed for her gaze.



Sexy Medusa 
2021
Alexia Sell Sáenz  
Digital Illustration
︎ @artlex_ss


“In a myth that traditionally portrays her as intimidating, Medusa always feels to me as somewhat of a mystery. She hides in a cave, scared, guilty for her existence, and persecuted for her gaze yet I imagine a contemporary Medusa as a greatly powerful and confident person.

A 21st century Medusa is not letting her curse overpower her, she carries herself with confidence and poise.”

Medusa as the Queen of Swords
2021
An-NhienNguyen
Digital Illustration
︎ @annguyenart
annguyenart.com

“I always found Medusa to be a wonderful subject to depict. There’s just so much history, lore and reinterpretations of her. I like to redraw medusa every now and then through a different lens...and in this version, she is the Queen of Swords from the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. The Queen of Swords is usually characterized by her intellectual clarity, independence and fair judgement.”





How to Apply

Please submit your proposals to contact.kleio.collective@gmail.com by 11:59PM, SUN 22 AUGUST 2021. Successful submissions will be presented in an online exhibition on our website, www.kleiocollective.co.uk , launching in September 2021. Check out our previous online exhibition, Feather Dusting/Future Lusting , for reference. We are looking for work that provides a thoughful and critical fulfilment of the brief(s).



The submission is to include the following:

• A short description of who you are and your practice (50-200 words).

• A short description of your chosen character(s), outlining who, through your imagination, she/they has become (50-200 words).

• A proposal of the artwork(s) for submission (100-1000 words).

• Documentation (i.e. images and videos) of the final artwork (for existing work).

• Concept sketches and/or documentation of experiments (for new proposals or work-in-progress).

• Any links to your website, Instagram or other social media (optional).

Submissions may take any creative format, as long as the work or an adaptation can be
exhibited online.



Formats might include (but are not limited to):

• Video/moving image

• Digital illustration

• Sound (or sound-based)

• Text-based

• Design

• Live performance (recorded or livestreamed online)

• Documentation of performance (for existing or past work)

Please use a filesharing platform such as WeTransfer if necessary.

More information:

• All applicants will be notified of their acceptance by SUN 29 AUGUST 2021.

• Applicants may submit more than one proposal.

• We also welcome submissions relating to other Greek female mythical characters.



Diversity, representation and acessibility:

In line with Kleió’s ethos, we particularly welcome submissions from early-career artists/ practitioners, marginalised identities and groups who are underrepresented in the cultural sector, including those from the LGBTQIA+, working class, POC and disabled communities.



Our ethos:
Our curatorial approach values working together with artists to facilitate, develop and realise their ideas, emphasising sustained engagement with artists’ practices. The final project will therefore be responsive to the successful proposals received.



Contact us:
If you have any questions, feedback or concerns, do contact us via email or Instagram.

Email: contact.kleio.collective@gmail.com
IG: @kleio.collective


Explore the characters by clicking the icons below☟



The Open Call Guide is also available as a PDF. ☟




Why couldn’t Pandora just leave the damn box alone?

When we think of Pandora, we often associate her with her infamous Box - the box that unleashed all evil into the world. But what if it wasn’t a box at all? In fact, there are different interpretations of the story involving Pandora and her “box”. Oftentimes, she purpose fully opens the box, sometimes it’s a jar, and in some iterations of the story, she doesn’t open the box at all. So why does it matter if it is a box or a jar?

Pythos = large unstable jar due to its wide lip and small base.
Pyxis= more closely related to our concept of a box today.

The different versions of Pandora’s Box reflect who we want her to be and who she has become to us - the curious girl who brought evil into the world. Pandora, in the most prominent contemporary version of the myth, wilfully opens the box- instead of accidentally pushing a large unstable jar over, that just happens to contain all the world’s evils. Why does this matter? Because Pandora’s motives, or lack thereof, are vital to informing our attitudes towards her - is she a troublesome temptress, or an innocent, and perhaps slightly clumsy, young woman?

According to ancient Greek sources, Pandora was created by Zeus to be a beautiful, charismatic woman: “a beautiful evil” to bring chaos and destruction to humans as revenge for Prometheus gift of fire, which entirely transformed their previously rather miserable existence. And Zeus succeeded. Haynes argues that Pandora, still blamed for so many of our societal ills, is merely a puppet. Many gods helped Zeus carry out his plan. Hermès sent Pandora down to earth to meet Prometheus' brother, Epimytheous, and she just so happened to carry a jar that unleashed hell on Earth? “No wonder Pandora gets all the blame”, says Haynes. And we agree.

If Pandora was designed and created solely to unleash the jar/box of doom, why have we completely villainized her, conveniently forgetting Zeus’ central role in this chaos? Why have we come to blame someone who has no agency - someone who has been designed, manipulated and coerced into following a path of action dictated by the most powerful god of all?

The original myths focused on the creation of Pandora and her Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent. As Christianity became more prominent in Greece, however, and stories such as Adam and Eve’s took centre stage, Pandora became less associated with being ‘the first woman’, and instead the myths came to focus on her sly, manipulative and deathly curious character - she became a temptress. Like Eve, Pandora is someone we all love to hate. Visual artists through the centuries have been fascinated by her beauty, often depicting her as young, fragile and erotic, while she commits the unforgivable act of opening that damn box.

So, what does Pandora represent to you? Who is she without the jar (or box)? What lies beyond her beauty and her curiosity? What lies beyond her betrayal?

What we want to know is:
Who is Pandora today?


Continue exploring...




How to Apply


Please submit your proposals to contact.kleio.collective@gmail.com by 11:59PM SUN 22 AUGUST 2021 Sucessfull submission will be presented in an online exhibition on our website, here on www.kleiocollective.co.uk , launching in September 2021.


For more on how to apply, click the button below. ☟



The Open Call Guide is also available as a PDF. ☟





Oedipus, The King of Thebes (you may recognise him for his dubious legacy, the ‘Oedipus complex’) is known for fulfilling the tragic prophecy of killing his own father Lauis, and marrying his own mother, Jocasta.

This tragic myth, Oedipus the King, begins when a deathly plague overtakes Thebes and Oedipus sends his brother-in-law, Creon, to seek help from the oracle at Delphi. Creon returns with a prophecy from the oracle: The plague will end once the murderer of Laius, the previous King of Thebes, is caught. This murderer, Creon tells us, lives within the city walls. Oedipus brings it upon himself to solve the oracle’s riddle, only to find out that he himself is both Laius’s murderer and son. If this wasn’t enough, this realisation is followed by the unavoidable truth that his wife and co-parent, Jocasta, is also therefore his mother.

Oedipus the King, named after the doomed main character, heavily focuses on the tragedy inflicted on Oedipus - but what about Jocasta? In fact, Jocasta (who doesn’t feature in the play until its halfway point,) figures out that she has fulfilled the prophecy way before Oedipus himself has come to the same conclusion. Jocasta, the mother who has lost her son, only to find him years later as her husband, and who has lived with the dreaded prophecy much longer than Oedipus has, is so distraught that she takes her own life.

It takes two to tango - fulfilling this prophecy was the work of both husband and wife (or mother and son) so why are we so fixated on Oedipus alone? Why are we implored to empathise with the King of Thebes, but encouraged to brush over Jocasta’s pain and death as merely collateral damage in the devastating demise of our hero? Evidencing this, Oedipus’ horrific self mutilation, the gouging out of his own eyes, is performed front and centre stage, whereas Jocasta’s suicide occurs behind the curtain.

Not only is Jocasta invisible in the play, depictions of her are hard to find from the ancient Greek world to the present. Natalie Haynes notes, “she has committed the ultimate sin against art: she is an older woman. And while painters never tire of showing us women and girls in their twenties or teens, they tend to be far less keen to show us a woman in her forties or fifties.” (2020:54)

Despite being invisible, how can contemporary depictions of Jocasta showcase her as a complex, powerful and clever woman, informed by the multitude of her years? How can an older woman like Jocasta be perceived and portrayed in the modern world?

What we want to know is:
Who is Jocasta today?


Continue exploring...




How to Apply


Please submit your proposals to contact.kleio.collective@gmail.com by 11:59PM SUN 22 AUGUST 2021 Sucessfull submission will be presented in an online exhibition on our website, here on www.kleiocollective.co.uk , launching in September 2021.


For more on how to apply, click the button below. ☟



The Open Call Guide is also available as a PDF. ☟