THE EUROPEAN CENTRE for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies has collaborated with curator/art historian Evangelia Kairaki in order to realise the exhibition ‘Leptogeos’, to be inaugurated on Friday, November 25, 6pm. The works of 75 artists are comprised, via which the exhibition’s theme will be presented on three floors of the European Centre. ‘Leptogeos’ (Λεπτόγεως), means ‘poor soil’. In Thucydides’ ‘Archaeology’, the historian uses this word in his description of Athens, concluding that it is due to the poorness of its soil that Attika became a safe haven and wasn’t fought over. And one could further this argument in order to say that it became rich in other ways for this reason, seeing as it wasn’t suited to agricultural development, and so became the ground for intellectual and cultural development.
The exhibition’s one-worded title therefore invites artists to examine the city of Athens from many facets. Each artist’s unique creative means have been employed to document, depict, express or present something about this city. After having wandered its streets, having observed its urban and natural landscapes, having looked at its people, its seen and unseen aspects, its everyday realities and histories, artists have turned their experience of this city into art. From the classical and realistic, to the abstract and prosaic, the artistic vista of this exhibition is diverse, as are the many faces of Athens. And the richness of this city’s cultural vista is not only developing all the more in recent years, but it is also being recognized all the more, winning various awards in the process. For example, today, it was in the news that Athens won the World Travel Awards for ‘best cultural destination for 2022’.
Curator Evangelia Kairaki says of the exhibition:
“Thucydides names Athens in his Archaeology as ‘Leptogeo’. And it is a wonder how in this barren basin of land with its special geomorphology the seed of so many spiritual and material achievements flourished. Perhaps this primary question is also filled with the magic of a city for which even the Olympian Gods threw, a city that magically reconciles the “beautiful” and the “high” of its ancient kleos with the fragments of its late decline and the realism of its modern reality. Athens and Athens again, then. The place of the meagre and barren, the overfertile, however, in signs and references. Utopia and dystopia. A city, attractive and sometimes repulsive, which does not offer itself unopposed to the senses and clicks of cameras, but invites the visitor to discover it through its many real and imaginary routes. Bipolar, therefore, in its contrasts, composed of fragments of its history, a sibila of landmarks and memories, Athens with the rock of the Acropolis eternally dominating and Athena Poliada vigilantly depriving her indigenous people, immigrants and lovers with her cloak. And how many did not crave it, eliterates and “reformers”, many in the course of time.”
Kairaki continues: “Eternal walkers still in the green kimilia of its natural rock, its inhabitants and visitors, following in ancient Meliti the footsteps of Socrates and Apostle Paul, tracers on the cobblestones of Pikionis, on the imprints of the Frankish knights and the Ottoman garrisons, with the serenades of the troubadours being heard in the remaining courtyards, the gazias, the violets and the lilies still smelling from the greens on the spring walks, the geraniums springing from the erkers of its modernism and the laternes winding with nerve on the ascents of Plaka. A sapphire stone hidden in rocky outcrops, Athens with the Attic light first reflecting on the slate of its subtle landscape, bouncing below on the silver leaves of its Olive Grove and from there radiating unsurpassed to the world…”
Participating artists: Janos Lipovics/Christina Pancess/Achilleas Aivazoglou/Giannis Aitinidis / Christos Alatsakis/Konstantina Alexopoulou/Antonis Antzoulidis/Yiannis Antonakeas/Maria Argyrakopoulou/Elena Arsenidou/Dimitra Vantzou/ Dimitris Vranas/Kostas Garyfallos/ Antonis Yiakoumakis /Angeliki Gioni /Vasilis Goumas /Dimosthenes Davvetas /Sophia Damala / Alexandros Dimopoulos /Elena Dimopoulou / Yiannis Dimoulas /Manos Diamantis-Staggeser / Argyro Driva / Maria Zygomala / Vivian Zotali /Krystallia Ioannidou / Thetis Ioannou /Eleni-Stephania Kalapoda /Elena Kalapothakou /Athina Kanellopoulou /Nikos Kanoglou /Stella Katergiannaki / Christina Katergiannaki / Christina Kontogeorgiou / Calliope Kouklinou / Fillippos Koutrikas /Foteini Kytiani / Kostas Lales /Efi Laskari /Eleanna Martinou / Adam Mattheos / Efstratia Magairidi / Stavroula Mitsakou / Orpheas Batsios /Lina Bebi /Lambrini Boviatsou / Ismini Bonatsou /Kristi Boutsai /Despina Pantazi /Eleni Papagiannopoulou / Angeliki Papadaki / Christos Papadakis /Eleni Papanikolaou /Roza Pappa-Vezyrtzi /Nota Paterimou /Aphrodite Patika / Thomas Patios / Dinos Petratos /Lia Petrou /Marina Rovithi /Spyros Romanos / Stella Sevastopoulos /Dimitra Sigala /Angelos Skourtis / Kostas Spyropoulos / Kyriaki Tzimou / Konstantinos Tolis / Martha Tsiara / Kostis Tsirintoulakis / Nikolas Tsiotas / Dimitra Fakarou /Katerina Hatzi / Vangelis Hatzis /Anna Maria Hatzistephanou / Nikos Chiotinis/ George Houndalas. Special participation of Michalis Nikolinakos (1920-1994).
- The European Centre/Contemporary Space Athens, is on 74 Mitropoleos St, central Athens (closest Metro stations: Syntagma and Monastiraki).
- Opening: November 25, 6-9pm. Runs till December 4, 2022. Open Wed-Sun 12-7pm.
- Free entrance