After presenting it in Thessaloniki and Paris, she aspires to see her nostalgic Greco-French photo book travel to Athens, Portugal and more French cities. NETTE is Greek-French photographer Artemis Pyrpilis’s debut, presenting a complexity in its narrative that she loves because, as she says, that is how you build multiple layers of meaning. “It’s particularly interesting to me when several elements combine with photographs to create the narrative. I like the conversation that develops between my photographs, textures, scanned objects and archival images.”
NETTE was a very personal project centered around her grandmother that began to take form in 2019. It was when, seven years after her grandmother passed away, the artist decided to visit for the first time her family house in Toulon, in the South of France. She felt the need to get close to her ancestor and sought to achieve this via photography – both using grandma’s older pictures and new ones shot where she was born and raised. As Artemis explains, almost everything had been left the same in the house. “Going through the rooms, drawers and boxes, I discovered the young girl she was in the ‘40s and her given nickname: Nette. Nette was joyful. She smoked. She exercised. And she laughed with her friends. This book is a tribute to my grandmother.”
Having prepared an outline, she decided to approach French publishers – a decision that was easy, as she had lived, studied and worked in Paris. It was going to be almost a year before she heard the coveted “yes”, from Gino, an editor at punto e basta. Artemis Pyrpilis found very interesting the process of selecting the images and placing them in the right sequence. Central to the book is the concept of corporeity, evident even in the cover, which was designed by Christos Vatalachos. NETTE has already been presented in Thessaloniki and in Paris, and Artemis aspires to see it tour Athens, more cities in France, as well as Portugal.
Meanwhile, she is considering self-publishing her next book, Gramie, which is currently in draft form. It is her contribution to the Thessaloniki Photobiennale 2021 and specifically “Photobook boom / The Greek case”, running from October to early December. This exhibition presents a series of photo books by Greek photographers which are either self-published or dummy books, and all printed in the last three years. “It is very encouraging that there are so many photographers trying to publish their work despite all the difficulties this entails, and even more encouraging that this exhibition is a way to showcase this effort.”
In early 2021, she also took part in “WeChangeThePicture” – a project by Chloe Pissa and Athanasia Papadopoulou that saw 20+1 women join forces for a good cause, inspired by and raising awareness of cases of domestic abuse that were brought to light around that time – the Greek #metoo. “It was, for us, a gesture of practical support and solidarity to all the women who have been on the receiving end of any type of abuse, and it was truly met with a strong response.”
She spent much of the lockdown creating videos on photography shot in personal and/or limited spaces. Because the classes she gives at Stereosis School of Photography and the Museum of Photography had stopped, she thought that these videos could spark inspiration, perhaps constituting motives for some to shoot within this confinement. “I wanted to provide a motive for creativity because I too had a need to do something creative within those circumstances. A lot of people watched them, not just Stereosis students, and it was impressive how even people who don’t do photography found something interesting within them.”
Artemis Pyrpilis (b. 1987) is a Greek-French photographer.
She studied photography in Greece and then in Paris.
She has worked as an accredited photographer for various film and music festivals in Greece, France, the UK, Germany and the USA, as a photographer’s assistant in fashion shoots, as well as agent’s assistant at a Paris photo agency.
She has participated in several group exhibitions, including at the C/O Berlin gallery in Germany, the State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, and the Host Gallery in London.
She has also shown two solo exhibitions in Thessaloniki.
She has held a photography workshop at MOMus-Museum of Modern Art in Thessaloniki.
She currently teaches at Stereosis School of Photography and MOMus-Thessaloniki Museum of Photography while working on personal projects.
In September 2021, her first photo book, NETTE, was published by punto e basta editions.