Curated by
Kat Christidi
Kana Higashino
Tashy Hughes

The Myth Interrupted exhibition series is inspired by Natalie Haynes’ fascinating book Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek Myths , published in 2020. We felt this book was a call to arms to revisit and reclaim these women, and we wanted to join the battle.

The female archetypes forged during the time when men genuinely feared the wrath of Zeus’ thunderbolt on a dark night, and women patiently awaited the sweet stab of Eros’ love- harbouring arrow, are still present today. Zeus may no longer reign supreme, but the binary ideas of femininity created during his rule live on, as if they themselves were caught in Medusa’s stony stare: We are good mothers or bad mothers, whores or virgins, monsters or muses.

Each version of these archetypes are sculpted to our times; they reflect our societal values, beliefs, and prejudices - they reflect us. As expressed so aptly by Natalie Haynes, “as we change, so these characters have also changed as if to match us” (2020:54) .

Kleio wants to know, if the women of Greek myth have changed to match us,
who are they today?  

Who is Medusa , the snake-haired monster with the fatal gaze?

Who is Clytemnestra , the husband-murdering, daughter-avenging Queen?

Who is Penelope , the weaving wife, who waited twenty years for her husband’s return?

We want to see these women in their multiplicities, reimagined for the confused and crazed world that is the 21st century. The series contains three exhibitions for the three characters - Medusa, Clytemnestra and Penelope. The three characters were curated based on each character’s unique story.

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. The tiles of the board also contain a collage containing different contemporary interpretations of Medusa, by 22 artists from around the world. 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.

Unlike Medusa, Penelope and Clytemnestra were presented as one. The Penelope/Clytemestra exhibition showcases the two characters side by side to emphasise their duality - a mirroring effect. Artist Lucy Ruddiman showcases two works, one for each character, in the form of an audio piece and video performance. Like many female authors, such as Nathalie Haynes and Emily Wilson, who have re-examined ancient Greek myths through a feminist lens, Lucy fills the gaps in the stories with her own. Ruddiman’s interpretations often examine the home, domesticity, labour as well as its complicated relationship with womanhood.

“Holding it Together” (2021) is a 15 minute and 14 second monologue by Penelope. Voiced by Ruddiman herself, this version of Penelope reveals her most intimate thoughts, behind closed doors. This audio piece incorporates a performative element: Lucy invites the audience to listen to Penelope whilst they get on with mundane chores around the home, like the laundry or the dishes.

“Do you really think I shouldn’t” (2021) is a 19 minute and 32 second video performance, in which features a monologue by Clytemnestra. The work takes the form of a zoom call, where Clytemnestra speaks directly to the viewer. Ruddiman’s version of Clytemnestra is one to be sympathised with. After all that has been said about her vengeful and conniving ways, she demands to be heard and she has something to say.

Click on the character icons to enter the exhibition.
The exhibition is optimised for desktop only.

With the Artist: Lucy Ruddiman on the Good Wife and the Bad Wife
25 Jan 2022

A virtual event was showcased as part of the Penelope/Clytemnestra exhibition. This virtual event is hosted by Kana Higashino, with guest artist Lucy Ruddiman. The discussion explores Lucy's audio piece "Holding it Together" (2021) and the video performance "Do You Really Think I Shouldn't?" (2021), both in which were written and directed by Ruddiman herself. We discuss the creative process, behind the scenes of the work, and dive into a deep analysis of the performance.