WHILE DOCUMENTA 14 is revving up for its grand opening on April 8 in Athens. the rest of the Greek art world is also putting on its best, in order to welcome this famed quinquennial art event which is taking place both in Kassel and Athens this year. The documenta 14 venues have been announced, and so have some of the participating artists, but the whole documenta ‘affair’ still has a sense of mystery, with bits of information leaking every now and then, adding to the suspense. Documenta 14’s socio-political interests, and its very much performance-based character will no doubt rock our Athenian sense of place and time. But the local Athens art scene is also acting on its own initiative, independently of (outside the official umbrella of documenta events), but theoretically in discourse with documenta, by adding a whole spectrum of other art forms to this grand artistic dialogue that is about to begin. And this dialogue has many sides to it: eg between North and South, between ‘barbarians’ of different cultures, between Greek crisis and culture, between the local and imported art scene and trends (to name a few).
Below, you will find some more options that will add to the rich ‘framework’ of art happenings around the city, that are outside of the documenta 14 official programme of events, but they too will add even more colour. Athens is witnessing change at the moment on many levels – on the one side there’s the crisis, and on the other, there’s a developing cultural capital which is building on its past ancient importance, but also now progressing further on its contemporary worth. It is interesting to see that many galleries have opted for group shows of their finest collaborators’ works, so that visitors can get the bigger picture of what Greek art is all about. (See also ‘Art Olympics (part 1)’, for more events and my ‘documenta’ article).
DOCUMENTA 14 will take place at 47 venues around town. To celebrate the event, the Hellenic Art Galleries Association has decided that 41 galleries around town (including 3 in Piraeus), will make their presence felt and will remain open beyond their usual hours, so that visitors can have a really art-packed ‘Gallery Walk’ around the weekend that documenta 14 opens to the public (April 8). Pick up a leaflet (in English/Greek) at one of the galleries downtown. Below is a brief outline of the galleries taking part:
a.antonopoulou.art (20 Aristofanous St, tel 210-321-4994), with the group show ‘Antiquidia (Dialogues with Antiquity); AD gallery (3 Pallados St, 210-322-8785), with the group show ‘Art in front of the Ruins’, and the show works by Su-Mei Tse (see photo above); Agathi Kartalos gallery (12 Mithimnis St, tel 210-864-02050), with a group show ‘You are withholding secrets and documenta’, starting April 1; Alma Gallery (24 Ypsilantou St, tel 211-400-3160), with sculptures by Aris Katsilakis; Artower Agora (10 Armodiou St, tel 210-324-6100), with works by Matthaios Papavasileiou; Art Zone 42 (42 Vas. Konstantinou Ave, tel 210-725-9549), with works by Dreyk the Pirate, starting April 6; Athens Art Gallery (4 Glykonos St, tel 210-721-3938) with works by Olivier Fahrni, starts April 4; Bernier/Eliades gallery (11 Eptahalkou St (tel 210-341-3935), with the group show ‘Incorporeal Bundles’; CAN Christina Androulaki gallery (42 Anagnostopoulou St, tel 210-339-0833), with a show entitled ‘The Pawnshop’, by Maria Kriara; CHEAPART gallery (25 Metaxa St, tel 210-381-7517), with the installation by Bildstein und Glatz entitled ‘Athens for Real’; Depot Art Gallery (5 Neophytou Vamva St, tel 210-364-8174), with works by Opy Zouni; Depo Darm (54-56 Iroon Skopeftiriou St, tel 210-760-1177), with the group show ‘ManSins’; ekfrasi – yianna grammatopoulou (9a Valaoritou St, tel 210-360-7598), with works by Cornelius Grammenos; Eleftheria Tseliou Gallery (3 Irakleitou St, tel 210-361-8188), with works by Yiannis Michaelidis; Eleni Koroneou gallery (30 Dimofontos St, tel 210-341-1748), with the group show ‘It looks like up to me’; Elika Gallery (27 Omirou St, tel 210-361-8045), with works by Kostas Roussakis; ena contemporary (9c Valaoritou St, tel 210-338-8501), with works by Lila Belivanaki; Evripides Gallery with photographs by Andros Efstathiou (see below), plus paintings by Aleko Kyrarini and jewellery designs by Christina Mantzavinou; Gagosian Gallery (3 Merlin St, tel 210-364-0215), with works by Douglas Gordon, Lawrence Weiner; Gallery Ersi (4 Kleomenous St, tel 210-722-0231), with works by A. Akrithakis, T. Stephanou; Gallery 7 (20 Solonos St, tel 210-361-2050), with paintings by Eleni Michailou; genesis gallery (35 Haritos St, tel 211-710-0566), with works by Yiannis Xanthoulis; Ikastikos Kiklos Sianti (2 Vas. Alexandrou Ave, tel 210-724-5432), with a group show; Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre (48 Armatolon & Klefton St, tel 210-643-9466), with a group show entitled ‘Integral’; Kalfayan Galleries (11 Haritos St, tel 210-721-7679), with the group show ‘Perished Sun’; Kappatos Gallery (12 Athinas St, tel 210-321-7931), with the group show ‘HL2805xy57’ (including works by Abramowic, Lynda Benglis, Louise Bourgeois); kaplanon 5 (cnr of Kaplanon & Massalias sts, tel 210-339-0946), with a group show of 30 artists’ works, inspired/commenting on documenta 14; Medusa Art Gallery (7 Xenocratous St, tel 210-724-4552), with a show by Miltos Michaelidis, entitled ‘A Greek Summer’; Nitra Gallery (34 Alopekis St, tel 213-0436697), with a group show; Peritechnon Karteris (see below); Qbox gallery (10 Armodiou St, 211-1199991), with works by Ali Kazma; Rebecca Camhi (9 Leonidou St, tel 210-523-3049), with works by Shannon Ebner; Skoufa Gallery (4 Skoufa St, tel 210-364-3025), with works by Gerasimos Rigas; Technohoros (4 Lembesi St, tel 182-3838), with works by Dimos Kipouros; The Breeder (45 Iasonos St, tel 210-331-7527), with the group show ‘SI SEDES NON IS’, and works by Zoe Paul; The ArtWall (Project Space, Cheapart, 26 Sophocleous St); Vamiali’s gallery (1 Samou St, tel 210-522-8968), with the group show ‘Sunset in Athens (part three)’; Zoumboulakis Galleries (Kolonaki Square, tel 210-360-8278), with Nikos Tranos’ show ‘White Power’;
In Piraeus: Art Prisma gallery is showing works by Vasilis Karakatsanis, DL gallery is showing the work of Katerina Zafeiropoulou and Enia gallery is presenting the group show ‘Back to basics’ (see below).
• All galleries will be open extra hours on 6,7,8 April: (12-9); and April 9 (12-7).
The gallery Peritechonon Karteris is hosting the show ‘Hommage an Matthias Grunewald’, by Iphigenia Avramopoulou. Her abstract works (see photo above), for which she has combined the mediums of charcoal drawing and oil painting on canvas, drawing from German Abstract Expressionism.
• Runs March 30- April 29. Peritechnon Karteris is on 5 Irodotou St, Kolonaki. Open Tues, Thurs, Fri 11-8; Wed, Sat 11-2.30; Closed Sun, Mon.
‘Back to Basics: Text’
Enia gallery is hosting the group show ‘Back to Basics: Text’, curated by Artemis Potamianou, which focuses on the use of the written text and prose in art, something which dates back to antiquity. Works by the following artists are included: Zavier Ellis, Guerrilla Girls, Joseph Kosuth, Kostas Basanaos, Yoko Ono (see photo above of work), Yiorgos Papadatos, Nina Papakonstantinou, Artemis Potamianou, Marios Spiliopoulos, Mark Titchner, Alexandros Psychoulis.
• Runs March 31-July 28. Enia gallery is on 55 Mesolongiou St (tel 210-461-9700). Open Tues, Wed, Thurs 11-7; Fri 11-8; Sat 11-4.
Andros Efstathiou’s Cyprus
The Evripides Gallery has chosen to get political for its next show, which comprises the photographic work (see photo above) of acclaimed Cypriot artist Andros Efstathiou, entitled ‘Nicosia International Airport’. The show was inaugurated by Cyprus’s Minister of Education and Culture Costas Kadis on March 30, and has been curated by Marios Teriade Eleftheriades. Via 24 photographs, Efstathiou tells the history of Cyprus’s past 43 years. The photographs have been taken in the old (and now derelict) Nicosia International Airport, which used to be Cyprus’s main airport but which closed in 1974 after the Turkish Invasion. An interesting play is created between the airport’s now ruined state and the people in the photos dressed in ‘70s style outfits.
• Runs till April 29. Evripides Gallery is on the cnr of 10 Heraklitou & Skoufa sts, Kolonaki (tel 210-361-5249). Open Tues, Thurs, Fri 11-8.30; Wed 11-5; Sat 11-4; Closed Sun, Mon.
Levidis’ paintings and preparatory works
The Felios Collection is hosting a show that focuses on two paintings by Alekos Levidis (see photo above), but also presents the preparatory works that he created for them. The show opened with a talk by Levidis, but also by Dionysis Kapsalis (Director of the National Bank of Greece’s Cultural Foundation) and Nikolaos Paisios.
• Runs till May 7. The Felios Collection is on 16 Fokionos Negri St (tel 210-882-4681). Open Wed, Fri 6-9; Sat 12-8; Sun 12-3. Closed from April 10-25.
The Benaki Museum’s Mentis branch is hosting a show of Maria Loizidou’s work entitled ‘deshabille’. The show explores in a sense the previous ‘life’ of the Mentis building, which functioned for 144 years as a textile factory. Curated by Yves Sabourin, organised by the Benaki and the House of Cyprus.
• Runs till July 29. The Benaki-Mentis is on 6 Polyfimou St (tel 210-347-8792). Open Tues, Sat 10-3.
The Alex Mylona –Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art is hosting the show ‘Future Revisited’, comprising an installation by Shuravlev, via which he has reproduced but also resized 1000 works from the Russian avant-garde, which are part of the Costakis collection of the State Museum of Contemporary Art (see photo above). Curated by Maria Tsantsanoglou (Director of the State Museum of Contemporary Art). The artist and curator will be giving a guided tour of the show on Saturday, April 8 (7pm).
• Runs April 5-23. Inauguration on April 5, 8pm. Open Wed, Fri, Sat 11-7; Thurs 1-9; Sun 11-4. Closed Mon, Tues. The Alex Mylona-Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art is on Agion Asomaton Square, Thission, Athens (tel 210-321-5717).
The Athens Municipal Gallery, in collaboration with the Maria Lassnig Foundation, is hosting a show of Maria Lassnig’s work, plus a round-table discussion on her work which took place at the gallery on March 31. The curator of the show is Hans Ulrich Obrist (Artistic Director of London’s Serpentine Galleries). Lassnig (1919-2014), had a close relationship with Greece, as evident in her work which draws from Greek antiquity and mythology. The exhibition will be inaugurated by the Mayor of Athens Yiorgos Kaminis, and the Austrian Minister of Art and Culture Thomas Drozda, on Friday, April 7, 4pm.
• Runs April 4-July 16. The Athens Municipal Gallery is on Avdis Square (corner of Leonidou & Myllerou sts, tel 210-520-2420). Open Tues 10-9; Wed, Sat 10-7; Sun 10-4.
Diplarios School’s art takeover
British artist Michael Landy’s project ‘Breaking News – Athens’, has taken over the Diplarios School these days (photo above), and has converted into art many photos which people have been sending to him, which focus on the situation of Greece today. But apart from this project (part of the NEON Organisation’s events), there will also be more art taking over this building, with another project (organised by EuroMare), entitled ‘Dialogos Athens 2007’. Assisant Professor Thanassis Moutsopoulos will be curating the show ‘The Greek counter example’ for this event, which is made up of two parts: one which focuses on key artists in the Greek art scene, and one which focuses on those who for some reason, were put on the margins of art society. Runs April 6-12.
• Diplarios School is on 3 Theatrou Sq (tel 210-324-0130). Michael Landy’s installation is open to the public Thurs-Sun 12-8. Runs March 30-June 11. Closed Mon-Wed. You can still upload your images via the NEON site (www.neon.org.gr/gr/breakingnewsathens-gr/), where they can be selected by the artist and turned into art, and added to the installation.
Students of the ASFA
The Yiorgos Vogiatzoglou gallery is organising a show of works by the Athens School of Fine Arts students of the 2nd Painting Workshop, taught by Kyriakos Mortarakos.
• Runs April 24-June 17. The Vogiatzoglou Gallery is on 63-71 El. Venizelou St, Nea Ionia (tel 210-271-0472).
The Athens Biennale has announced its working title ‘Waiting for the Barbarians’, in an effort to understand who the ‘barbarians’ really are in this day and age, with events continuing at the Bageion Hotel in Omonoia. The Deste Foundation is being extra prolific these documenta days, organising a show and publication entitled ‘Liquid Antiquity’, opening to the public on April 3 (at the Benaki’s main building), plus the ‘Deste Prize: An Anniversary Exhibition 1919-2015’, which opens on April 5 (at the Museum of Cycladic Art). Meanwhile, on the islands, Andros’s Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art will be hosting a show dedicated to the work of Greek surrealist Nikos Engonopoulos (see photo above) this summer, while on Hydra, the Deste Foundation’s ‘Slaughterhouse’ space will be hosting the work of Kara Walker this summer (June 20-September 30).