5Edge Hill University student Fenia Palyvou is set to make her mark on the international arts scene with an unusual and thought-provoking exhibition at one of the largest contemporary visual arts festivals in the UK.

Greek student Fenia, who is studying for an MA in Making Performance, is showcasing her talents at Independents, a fringe festival that runs alongside the renowned Liverpool Biennial. It aims to support high quality and ambitious work by emerging and established artists active in Liverpool, nationally and internationally, and takes place at venues across the city during September and October.

Fenia’s piece, In Between, is a three-dimensional artwork exploring the connections and tensions between familiar and unfamiliar objects. Set against the backdrop of the iconic ‘Bombed Out Church’ (St Luke’s in Liverpool), In Between is an “optical game” which consists of a series of arches designed to look like a distorted alleyway, accompanied by an unsettling soundscape of increasingly strange yet identifiable noises. Audiences can walk through and interact with the piece, which has been specifically designed to complement the venue’s distinctive architecture.

Fenia says:

Installation and site-specific art are my points of focus within the MA programme. I am exploring how the atmosphere of an unfamiliar space can be created by changing one element (e.g. dimension, scale, texture, color or perspective) or one condition (e.g. use, temperature or time) of a familiar space.

I see an unfamiliar space as a known space which, for certain reasons, feels unfamiliar and paradox, like a staircase leading to a wall. Such spaces can be found in the real world and usually occur when a space loses its former use or when new architecture blends with past architecture.”

1In Between takes something that looks familiar (an arch) and makes it feel unfamiliar,” explains Fenia. “By the use of two basic elements – visual and sound – a curious environmental experience is created within the already extraordinary space of St Luke’s Church.”

The installation forms part of Fenia’s research into site-specific art and ways of expressing the unfamiliar. As well as testing her artwork in a public environment, Fenia will also interview and film visitors as they walk around the exhibition to see how their experiences differ.

Bill Hopkinson, the Programme Leader for the MA in Making Performance, says: “Fenia’s installation really shows the diversity of research within the MA and the many and varied ways in which the term ‘performance’ can be interpreted.

Making Performance is not simply about creating stage sets, it’s about performance in its broadest sense, from traditional theatre to visual art. In Between is a performance without performers; the audience, in effect, become the performers as they move around the space.

I think Fenia’s work epitomises the MA’s broad performance remit. We have students researching subjects as diverse as gothic dance, radio ballads and scare mazes. We encourage people to make the kind of art they want and support them in developing independent careers as professional artists.”

As well as an opportunity to have her work seen by hundreds of thousands of people, both during the festival and online for two years afterwards, Fenia views the festival as a way of boosting her employability in the future.

“I’m excited to be part of this festival because of the invaluable experience and opportunity to network with other artists,” she says. “Being part of a team can be quite important to a young artist, giving them the push and inspiration to continue their course and kick-start their career.

In Between

St Luke’s The Bombed Out Church, Liverpool

16 – 20 September 2014, 14:00 – 23:00

Free Entry

In Between

In Between