“Apolonia, Apolonia”: the filmed diary of the painter and feminist Apolonia Sokol


Nothing stops figurative painter Apolonia Sokol, 36, especially not the fear of displeasing. And nothing could interrupt this obsession with filming the turbulent young graduate of the Beaux-Arts in Paris who became a friend, almost a sister, for the Danish director Lea Glob. Her addictive documentary, Apolonia, Apolonia , which took thirteen years to film, is in strong empathy with her character (her talent, the attraction she has around her), while looking deep into her eyes, with its unbearable sides.

Apolonia Sokol is also a body, a face of great sensuality, a look similar to lightning, an immense mouth, painted with this lipstick whose imprint she leaves on the envelopes she sends to her friends, to invite them to its exhibitions. As the filmmaker says in this filmed diary, she does not know “who captured who” in this story where she portrays herself, as a young filmmaker facing motherhood in pain, when, on her side , Apolonia Sokol proclaims her refusal to be a mother.

The film also captures the close relationship that the painter formed with the Ukrainian artist and activist Oksana Chatchko, co-founder of Femen, who killed herself in 2018. The filming therefore ended, brutally amputating her sweet and tormented presence in the world – the fine silhouette of Oksana Chatchko appears on several of Sokol’s paintings, one of them showing her with her two wrists broken and bandaged, following an action which earned her a violent arrest. It is therefore in the mirror of these three journeys of women, artists in the making, that this fragmented, intimate and political story is played out.

A life like a rollercoaster

Born in Paris in 1988, Apolonia Sokol grew up at the Lavoir moderne Parisien (LMP), an alternative scene in the Goutte-d’Or district ( 18th arrondissement), founded in 1986 by her parents, a Polish father, a Danish mother. – the place had to close its doors in 2014 before being taken over by the company Graines de soleil. Integrating archive images, the film shows how this childhood spent in this multicultural place, anchored in neighborhood life, considerably nourished the vocation of the future painter. Her stay in hospital too, when she suffered from a rare illness, at the age of 8, and when sisters watched over her, bringing her illustrated Bibles by Italian masters.

After her parents separated, as a teenager, Apolonia Sokol went to live with her mother in Copenhagen. The young artist will then discover Düsseldorf (Germany), New York, etc., then will meet her father again within the walls of the LMP, where a group of Femen was welcomed in 2012. She will also try Los Angeles…

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