Geneviève Fenouil was born in Toulon in 1929 and died in Bastia in 2012.
She was my grandmother.
Even though I knew her, I didn't know a lot about her.
We called her Gramie and wherever she went,
she left a unique scent behind her,
something between the smell of toasted bread
and the scent of a mimosa.

Everything I know about my grandmother is right here.

“I took the camera with me, without giving it much thought, without knowing why. Apparently I felt the need and there’s a piece of truth in anything that comes up as a need,” points out Greek-French photographer Artemis Pyrpilis, who recently released her new photo book. Gramie was named after her granny’s diminutive, to whom she had also dedicated her debut photo book, Nette.

For the talented photographer, Gramie served as a way, eleven years after her grandmother’s death, to cope with the loss and reconnect with her. Nette, released in September 2021 from the French editions Punto e Basta, included archive material and photos from her granny’s home after she had passed away, while Artemis was “discovering” her ancestor in various stages of her life.

The material portrayed in Gramie precedes the one in Nette, as it dates from 2012, when the photographer paid the last visit to her granny in Corsica, at that time in the final stage of her illness. It was there that she first photographed her intimate environment and her family, in an ambiance of emotional tension, bulging with limbo
and discomfiture.

“The way each one of us copes with such moments differs from person to person. This book and the recording it unravels was a mechanism of coping with my own emotions and dealing with a situation that burdened me. I have no interest in assessing whether I experienced it the way it ‘deserved’, as I reacted in a totally instinctive manner,” she notes, before repeating that she captured these moments “totally spontaneously”, without any conscious decision to take photos. “A captured moment takes on a different dimension, a new dynamic is shaped in the course of time, forging a different relation to memory. I find this process to be really intriguing,” she adds.

Gramie’s first draft dates back to 2019 and a few years later, in 2022, the bond she shared with her grandmother went one step further, when Artemis created a video intertwining movement and image, within the framework of a residency she attended in Akropoditi Dance & Performing Arts Center, in Syros. The video is a record of her own improvised movement juxtaposed with the movement of her grandmother, as captured in the archival material of Nette.

“It’s a form of kinetic dialogue between us. The full title Nette – A Kinesic Experiment includes the work ‘kinetics’ that reflects the study of communication through the body, but also the word ‘experiment’, as I wished to find out the ways in which I could be influenced by my granny’s movement and interact with her, through the photos taken. There’s a stronger personal hue to this work, as I also exist within it, my body is present, trying to connect with her in its own way.”

This is the third installment in a series of books revolving around her French granny, a distinct triptych (Gramie, Nette, Nette – A Κinesic Experiment) that calls it a wrap with the self-publication of Gramie. “I am fervent supporter of self-publications and all sorts of individual effort, as it relies greatly on the element of personal investment,” she stresses, adding that she would consider working as an editor and
contributing in the release of other photo books at some point in the future.

Dummy book

21x29 cm
Accordeon binding
Inkjet printing on Hahnemühle Matte Fine Art Smooth Rice Paper
100 gsm
2 copies

Cover design: Christos Vatalachos
printed in september 2021