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  • Frank Atisso

Ilyra Chardin : Modern Myths and Legends

Ilyra’s latest installation of 2D and 3D art at La Maison d’Aneli reflects upon various myths and legends, in particular the illusion that is the modern city.

When one hears the word “myth“, our mind tends to conjure up images of ancient mythical beings and legendary tales of heroic valor. However, what if I were to tell you that myths (or illusions) are prevalent in the modern world as well?

Ilyra’s latest exhibition at La Maison d’Aneli, titled “The Middle of the Road & Other Myths and Legends” offers us a look at some of these mostly modern day myths revolving around a wide variety of different themes. Ilyra has constructed a beautiful gallery space around her installation “The Middle of the Road“, which houses a new series of 2D artworks as well as some small but rather cute-looking sculptures of animals and birds. Blending the 2D and 3D work beautifully, this exhibition (or perhaps it is better to call it an installation) is nothing short of spectacular.

The Middle of the Road & Other Myths and Legends” by Ilyra Chardin – La Maison d’Aneli

Things are not always what they seem to be. This is an underlying theme in many of Ilyra’s pieces exhibited here as well as of the exhibition as a whole. For example, one of the images titled “Safari Photos” depicts a zebra wearing sneakers who is standing before a backdrop featuring a landscape from the African Savannah grasslands. A board nearby advertises and welcomes visitors to take Safari Photos for as less as $5. You may have seen similar stuff in the physical world, but it is important to note that right here is an example of how an illusion or a myth is born.

While this may be a singular example, the broader context here is perhaps of social media, where people are constantly looking for self-validation as they showcase only the rosy (or sometimes even fake) parts of their life to the world. It also made me wonder if there was somewhere a veiled reference here to the virtual world, which is by itself an illusion.

The Middle of the Road & Other Myths and Legends” by Ilyra Chardin – La Maison d’Aneli

Metropolis” is another piece which puts two very different models of cities into the same frame, thus drawing an inevitable comparison between them. The first is the version used by many artistic European cities, with exquisite sculptures, beautiful streets and pleasant architecture. The other, which is now being increasingly adopted due to overcrowding, is the modern forest of skyscrapers reaching to meet the sky. Ilyra draws our attention to the transformation of many cities to the latter model due to overpopulation and lack of available land resources by depicting the traditional model outside a chain which is slowly opening up to reveal the urban jungle within.

The partially open chain is Ilyra’s own creation, which can be seen here right within the installation itself. The chain runs down the middle of the “road” which divides this gallery into two halves until the road itself cracks open into a large dark manhole. Walking into this manhole drops us down to another level that reveals the entirety of Ilyra’s installation.

The Middle of the Road & Other Myths and Legends” by Ilyra Chardin – La Maison d’Aneli

Here, the scene is almost of dystopian and post-apocalyptic nature, depicting the darker side of our modern-day cities, which, like this part of the installation, is hidden from view. The entire installation is itself created as a modern day myth to make us reflect upon the illusion that today’s urban cities create to invite and lure people in. They hide the problems of homelessness, crime, violence and poverty to portray only its brighter sides.

Ilyra’s latest installation is a well-thought one drawing parallels between ancient myths and legends to relatively modern ones. It also prompts visitors to dwell upon the great myth the modern city really is. And while you are here, you can also check out some other exhibits at the gallery!


  1. Ilyra’s Space – La Maison d’Aneli

#2DSLArt #3DArtInstallations #IlyraChardin


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