AS THE GREEK and international art world revs up for documenta 14 (April 8-July 16 in Athens, June 10-September 17 in Kassel), Athens puts on its best: So much will be happening around town that it’s a bit like the Olympics again, only this time for art – the ‘Art Olympics’. Cultural institutions and galleries have been inspired in terms of creating unique shows and events, in order to encompass documenta 14 with even more artistic propositions and perspectives, thus creating a whole network of art dialogues spreading across the city and beyond. In fact, Athens is going to be choc-a-bloc with art this spring and summer. No doubt the art wave will continue to the islands too (Hydra and Andros in particular). There’s also the 6th Athens Biennale due to start at the same time as documenta 14, and up North there’s the 6th Thessaloniki Biennale to follow (September till January). And then, the official, grand opening of the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST), in Athens, planned for the Autumn.
Here are some of the shows and events you can enjoy whilst waiting for documenta 14 to kick off, and others which will be running parallel to the famed quinquennial. And, more will be announced (to be included in a ‘part 2’).
Going down or going up?
With the concept that we have been going ‘down’ for so long here in Greece, that it looks like ‘up’, the Eleni Koroneou Gallery is presenting a group show these days, entitled ‘It Looks like UP to me’, with artists Irini Efstathiou, Lito Kattou, Olga Miliaresi-Foka, Panos Papadopoulos, Eftihi Patsouraki and Yorgos Sapountzis. The viewer is invited to traverse through the show and to discover the artists’ comments and concerns about contemporary Athenian times. From the monoprints of Efstathiou which incorporate newspaper clippings of various events between 2012-13, to Kattou’s ‘Fighting with the Sun’, comprising four thrones, to Papadopoulos’s paintings of domestic scenes full of irony and humour, to Sapountzis’ sculptural works transformed into silkscreens. This is an exhibition that presents the many sides of the contemporary Greek art scene. Sapountzis is also taking part in the 57th Venice Biennale’s ‘Arte Viva Art’ show.
• Runs till April 14. The Eleni Koroneou Gallery is on the corner of 30 Dimofontos and Thorikon sts. Open Tues-Fri 12-6 and Sat 12-4.
Tranos at Zoumboulakis
Artist Nikos Tranos’s installation at the Zoumboulakis Gallery, is entitled ‘White Power’, and comprises works that are made up of various materials (incorporating readymades such as tables and chairs topped with sculptural forms made from baked clay, ceramics , porcelain, enamel), which tell their own story. This work in process which started in 2007 and includes various units, is a critique of real and imaginary situations. Also included is a video work (of 2010), by the artist in which he destroys structures made of sugar cubes (a material he has used in his work in the past). Also, the artist has constructed a book made of excerpts from other books – a work in progress which starts with Andre Breton’s 1944 ‘Arcanum 17’, a text which combines poetry and prose in order to expand on issues of love and freedom. Furthermore, the correspondence between a refugee in Germany and Tranos’s mother ( which took place 1966-71), has also been turned into art.
• Runs till April 21 at the Zoumboulakis Gallery (20 Kolonaki Sq, tel 210-360-8278). Open Tues, Thurs, Fri 11-3 & 5-8. Wed 11-3 & Sat 11-2. Closed Sun and Mon.
Katzourakis at Kappatos
Michalis Katzourakis shows his recent work at the Kappatos Gallery till April 1. His interest in geometric forms and shapes and in abstraction is prevalent, as well as in human interventions, rhythm and structural components, as he discovers them in public spaces. His series ‘Windows’ also present the relationship between inner and outer spaces.
• Open Tues – Fri 12-6, Sat 12-4. Kappatos Gallery is on 12 Athinas St, Monastiraki, tel 210-321-7931.
‘Sticker – Stalker’
Lila Belivanaki’s new show at the Kaplanon galleries’ ena Contemporary art space, entitled ‘Sticker – Stalker’, kicks off on March 28. From childhood traumas to childhood games the artist combines many worlds in an intricate and enticing dreamlike collage of events and faces, via her unique mastery of drawing/painting.
• ena Contemporary is on 9c Valaoritou St, tel 210-338-8501. Open Tues, Thurs, Fri 11-9; Wed & Sat 11-4. Runs till May 6.
Art Athina revamped
There was talk that the art fair might not be realised this year, but now, it turns out that not only is it happening, but it is also undergoing a ‘facelift’. So, for the 22nd year, the Hellenic Art Galleries Association (PSAT), this time is collaborating together with a new group of art professionals: new art director Stamatia Dimitrakopoulou, art advisor Xenia Kalpaktsoglou, and production is now in the hands of Be Best company. Apart from the main fair comprising both galleries from Greece and around the world, there will also be the participation of new galleries from abroad, plus a show curated by Paris-based curator Myriam Ben Salah, also Chief Editor of the art magazine ‘Kaleidoscope’, who has been working on projects at the Palais de Tokyo since 2009. Education programmes, talks, video screenings, an outdoor installation, a new VIP programme, plus tributes to the recently deceased artists Dimitris Mytaras and Yannis Kounellis and special publications are also on the agenda.
• Runs May 26-28 at the TaeKwonDo Stadium in Faliro. (www.art-athina.gr)
Art and politics at AD
The AD Gallery is hosting a group show on the 1st floor with works by George Drivas, Vlassis Caniaris (see photo above), Nikos Markou, Dimitris Mihalakis, Tassos Pavlopoulos, Anastasis Stratakis, Steve Gianakos and Steven C. Harvey. Via these artists’ politically charged works, the notion of what political art means today, and why it is lacking in the contemporary Greek art scene is put forth. George Drivas is also representing Greece at the 57th Venice Biennale.
• Runs April 5-June 3. Open Tues-Fri noon till 9. Sat noon till 4. AD (or Alphadelta) Gallery is on 3 Pallados St, Psirri. 210-322-8785.
On the 2nd floor of the AD Gallery, the work of Su-Mei Tse will be hosted from April 5, in a show entitled ‘A Certain Lightness’. It comprises three videos which have been recorded at historical sites of Europe (Tivoli’s Villa Adriana, the Altes Museum in Berlin and Villa Farnesina in Rome). In the videos a juggler holds a crystal ball and so these famous sites appear upside down on its surface. This is the playful way via which the artist humorously deals with his own feelings of awe but also of incompetence in the face of the great art that one witnesses in such places. Runs till June 3. (See above for AD gallery’s details)
Art and jewellery
You can still get a chance to see Miltos Pantelias’ ‘Palimpsests’ (photo above), and Nikos Vavdinoudis’ ‘Faces + Masks’ at the Evripides Gallery till March 24, and there’s no doubt that the gallery will be planning something special for April. In the meantime though, it is also taking its art shop up a notch, by presenting the work of Christina Athanasoula-Mantzavinou. The world of art and jewellery converge in her artistic trinkets made of a mix of materials ranging from precious and semi-precious stones to wood, textiles, bones and buttons.
• From March 18 at the Evripides Gallery, on the corner of 10 Herakleitou & Skoufa sts, Kolonaki (tel 210-361-5249). Open Tues, Thurs, Fri 11-8.30, Wed 11-5 and Sat 11-4. Closed Mon and Sun.
Adrian Villar Rojas in town
The famed Argentinian artist Adrian Villar Rojas will be creating a most unique art work at the Athens Observatory on the Hill of Nymphs (Lofos ton Nymphon). He will transform this site for four months into a ‘new universe’ of artistic character, entitled ‘The Theatre of Disappearance’. The event has seen to the collaboration of the Athens Observatory and the NEON organisation. Runs June 1-September 24.
The show of photographs entitled ‘0.7 to infinity’, by Gerasimos Rigas at the Skoufa Gallery, are abstract details of the female form which present how the artist sees it as a sculpture, and as a landscape.
• Runs till April 10. Skoufa Gallery is on 4 Skoufa St, Kolonaki (tel 210-364-3025). Open Mon, Wed, Sat 10-3.30, Tues, Thurs, Fri 10-3.30 & 5.30-9.
Deste celebrates at the Cycladic
After 18 years since the 1st Deste Prize was awarded, the Deste Foundation now organises a show at the Museum of Cycladic Art which presents the 9 prize-winners so far, from 1999-2015. The show gives the viewer an opportunity to get a taste of young Greek creativity, and will be inaugurated April 5. Runs till September 17.
Prize-winners are: Panayota Tzamourani (1999), Georgia Sagri (2001), Maria Papadimitriou (2003), Christodoulos Panayiotou (2005), Loukia Alavanou (2007), Eirene Efstathiou (2009), Anastasia Douka (2011), Kostas Sahpazis (2013), and Angelo Plessas (2015).
• The Cycladic Museum is on 4 Neofytou Douka St (tel 210-722-8321). Open Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat 10-5; Thurs 10-8; Sun 11-5. Closed Tues. Tickets at 3.5 euros.
The DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art is also organising the project entitled ‘Liquid Antiquity’, to be taking place at the Benaki Museum.
Conceived by Brooke Holmes, Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Classics at Princeton University, in collaboration with Polina Kosmadaki, curator at the Benaki Museum, and Yorgos Tzirtzilakis, artistic advisor to the DESTE Foundation, ‘Liquid Antiquity’ explores the possibility of reinventing classicism and argues for its enduring influence on contemporary art.
The project includes a publication, co-edited by Brooke Holmes and Karen Marta, which consists of critical contributions by renowned scholars and ten conversations with prominent artists, as well as a site-specific video installation which places six interviews with the artists who contributed to the publication in dialogue with the Benaki Museum’s permanent collection. The video installation, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfo will be on view at the Benaki Museum.
• Book launch & opening of video installation: April 3, 2017
Exhibition duration: April 4 – September 17, 2017. The Benaki Museum is on the corner of 1Koumbari St & Vas. Sophias Ave. (tel 210-367-1000). Open Wed, Fri 9-5. Thurs, Sat 9-midnight; Sun 9-3.
The Badisches Landesmuseum of Karlsruhe is bringing its Art Nouveau collection to Athens, for a show at the Benaki Museum which kicks off on April 6. This exhibition is within the framework of the Co-operation Agreement between the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst Baden-Württemberg, and comprises select items from the Art Nouveau collections of the Badisches Landesmuseum. Significant aspects of the Art Nouveau movement, from France, Germany, Austria, England and Belgium will be presented.
• Runs April April 6-May 21 at the Benaki Museum (cnr of Koumbari St & Vas Sophias Ave). Tel 210-367-1000). Open Wed, Fri 9-5. Thurs, Sat 9-midnight; Sun 9-3.
The Benaki Pireos in collaboration with Polyeco Contemporary Art Initiative is hosting the show ‘Paratoxic Paradoxes’, curated by Nadja Argyropoulou (photo above). The exhibition explores the following issue: “Is man’s relationship to the environment the most controversial, complex and unfinished project of humanity?”
The organisers explain that “a long history of ideas, philosophies, sciences, arts, politics and events seems to confirm this tumultuous relationship and its pending matters, as it becomes evident that treating the political in terms of a relationship limited only among humans is insufficient, and that all the world’s species, things and beings must be represented in a sustainable symbiosis. The exhibition ‘Paratoxic Paradoxes’ presents new works of moving image (film, video, animation, digital imaging, etc.) that explore this critical question through the contemporary viewpoint of political ecology and eco-criticism, as it is shaped in the crux of art, politics, socioeconomic demands, pedagogy and activism, beyond naive classifications, univocal readings and outdated strategies.”
The exhibition will present for the first time eleven art works that have been commissioned to international artists via the the nonprofit platform Polyeco Contemporary Art Initiative (PCAI) and curator Nadja Argyropoulou. This project can be seen as an artistic response to issues such as climate-change and how it is affecting all walks of life.
The participating artists are: Loukia Alavanou, Sophia Al Maria, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Vasilis P. Karouk, Anja Kirschner, Eva Kotatkova, Saskia Olde Wolbers, Eva Papamargariti, Agnieszka Polska, Mika Rottenberg, Wu Tsang.
• Runs March 23-May 21, at the Benaki Pireos. Tickets at 8 & 4 euros.The Benaki Pireos is on 138 Pireos Ave. (tel 210-345-3111). Open Thurs & Sun 10-6; Fri & Sat 10-10. Closed Mon, Tues, Wed.
The Return of Remap
Remap is a biannual contemporary art platform established by the non-profit organization ReMapKM. Launched for the first time in 2007, ReMap has become known for its participatory, collaborative and discovering nature, hosting a unique variety of projects presented by artists, curators, institutions and galleries from across the world. The last Remap (number 4, see photo above), was in 2013. It comprised the work of 500 artists, 23 galleries, 4 art institutions (Deste Foundation, Kunsthalle Athena, Museum of Cycladic Art, NEON organisation), and 26 curators. Now, after not being able to realise an event for 2015, Remap 5 returns with a vengeance in 2017, aiming to fill Athens once again with art projects, in June. (For more info, check out the site: http://www.remapkm.org)
The Athens Biennale continues its events at the Bageion Hotel in Omonoia, with the ‘Synapse 2’ programme which kicks off April 15 and runs till April 24. (check out the programme on the site: http://athensbiennale.org/en/programme_en/synapse-2-programme/). Here, you will find a whole host of events, from performances, workshops (for children and parents, talks, screenings, performances, theatre and more. Later, ‘Synapse2: Part 2’ will follow, and will run May 25-31, including the continuous screening of the new short film ‘Emergency Turned Upside Down’, by artist Oliver Ressler (photo above). For more info, check out the site of the biennale: http://www.athensbiennale.org. And all this before the Athens Biennale really kicks off, with the opening of documenta 14 in April. Events are planned to run through the summer.