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A walking edge on a fantasy world September 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Athenian art lovers will have a chance to view the enchanting and magical drawings of American artist Ruby Osorio at Vamiali’s Gallery, from September 7 through October 27.

The exhibition is entitled “Upon This Walking Edge” and will feature drawings and works on paper by the acclaimed Los Angeles-based artist.

Osorio’s work is reminiscent of fairy tale iconography, creating a fantasy environment for her mainly female characters. Through her paintings she explores female identity and addresses the anxiety, insecurity, and vulnerability that accompany many girlhood transformations and adulthood.

At the Vamiali’s Gallery, 1 Samou Street, Metaxourgio, Athens, tel 210 5228968. Nearest metro station is Metaxourgio. Visit the gallery’s website at > www.vamiali.net


Darling, Take Fountain September 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Konstantin Kakanias, an illustrator whose works of art hang in galleries from Washington, DC to Switzerland, takes a crack at curating for a new exhibition at the Kalfayan Galleries in Athens.

The exhibition, entitled “Darling, Take Fountain” after a famous Bette Davis line, opened on June 1 and will run until September 29.

Kakanias is best known for examining the art world from within through his award-winning illustrated character, Mrs. Tependris, an art collector. He has been living in Hollywood for the past eight years and now brings together several works of art from galleries, private collections, artist friends, and other places in Los Angeles as a sort of introspective look at life in the city. Among the works are David Hockney’s “Mulholland Drive”, Catherine Opie’s “House #7 (Beverly Hills)”, and photographic prints by Ed Ruscha.

Kalfayan Galleries, 11 Haritos Street, Kolonaki, Athens, tel 210 7217679.

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Photography vs cinema at HAU September 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Movies Life Greek.
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The similarities and differences between the visual approaches to photography and cinema are the subject of a series of seminars being hosted at the Hellenic American Union from October 4 and every Thursday for five consecutive weeks.

The seminars, which will be conducted by Platon Rivellis, each last two hours and delve into photography and cinema in the 1920s through the work of such acclaimed filmmakers as D.W. Griffith, Buster Keaton, Fritz Lang, F.W. Murnau, Walter Ruttman, Dziga Vertov and Victor Sjostrom, juxtaposed with that of photographers Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Alexander Rodchenko, Edward Weston, Stanislaw Witkiewicz, Josef Sudek, August Sander and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy.

Rivellis will focus on drawing parallels and highlighting differences between the “infancy” of cinema and the “adolescence” of photography by comparing soundless photography to then-soundless films to reveal the common roots shared by the two arts and the different objectives they ultimately serve.

At the Hellenic American Union, seminars will begin at 8.30 p.m. on October 4, 11, 18, 25 and November 1, and cost 15 euros for the entire series or 5 euros per individual seminar. Registration has already begun.

Hellenic American Union, 22 Massalias Street, Athens, tel 210 3680052.

The migration experience from the 1960s to 1980 September 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Goethe Institute in Thessaloniki hosts exhibition until October 28

A special chapter in the history of modern Greece comprises the wave of migration to Germany. This history was written in the 1960s and 70s at the port of Piraeus, on the deck of the legendary ferry boat Kolokotronis, on the emergency train routes leaving Thessaloniki, known as the “line of hope,” at the train station in Munich, deserted Greek villages, small German and Belgian factories and in the lyrics of popular songs, which served as the only companion from back home during those lonely years in foreign lands.

The journey of Greek migrants from the tobacco fields of Greece to German factories, from the close-knit family circle to workers’ housing, from the fond farewells of loved ones to the gradual settlement in their “second home” is the subject of a photography exhibition titled “Greek Migration to Germany: 1960-1980,” recently inaugurated by the wife of President Karolos Papoulias, May Papoulia, at the Goethe Institute in Thessaloniki. The exhibition runs to October 28.

There are very few families in the north of Greece who have not experienced the departure of one of their own and the mixed sentiment of high expectations for a better future clashing with a sense of nostalgia for family and home.

Today, the majority of the first generation of those Greek migrants are at the age of retirement, while much of the second generation became assimilated in the fabric of the host society and the third lives permanently in this “second home.”

The mass migration began with the signing of a labor recruitment agreement between Greece and Germany in March 1960. Then the so-called German Committee was set up in Thessaloniki, where German factories could recruit hands for their assembly lines. The committee was also responsible for assessing whether these laborers, men and women, would be of benefit to the German economy or not. Those who succeeded in acquiring the much-coveted “green card” set off on the journey north. They were the first Greek “gastarbeiter” or guest workers.

The port of Piraeus was often the site of emotional farewells, a trying period for those leaving as well as those watching the Kolokotronis pull out of port. The atmosphere was equally heavy at Thessaloniki’s train station, where special routes were scheduled to convey hundreds of Greeks to Munich, the Ruhr Valley, Berlin and other German cities.

The long journey took some through Italy and others through Yugoslavia, but all travelers ended up at the Munich railway station on Line 11, or the “line of hope.” From there they would be dispatched to factories that were scattered all over the country.

The exhibition represents the third and final part of a project on migration developed by the German Federal Cultural Foundation in 2002. The 40 photographs that have been selected “are not just a record of the enormous contribution of the migrants to both the German and Greek economies, but also a presentation of the migrants themselves,” explains the curator, Manuel Gogos.

Goethe-Institut of Thessaloniki, 66 Vassilisis Olgas Avenue, Thessaloniki, tel 2310 889610.

Parallel projects organized by Thessaloniki Biennale September 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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The Thessaloniki Biennale is nearing its close with a series of projects that have been organized for the month’s remaining days.

“Public Screen,” which opened Monday, presents video art by 94 international artists. The works are being shown at Thessaloniki’s airport, the old port, near the Museum of Photography, the Kodra former military camp and other areas in the city center.

The project is curated by Sirago Tsiara and aims at integrating art with public spaces and urban life. This weekend, the State Museum of Contemporary Art, the organizer of the biennale, will offer an international conference on the subject of “Art as Heterotopy.” The biennale’s three curators, Maria Tsantsanoglou, also director of the museum, Catherine David and Jan-Erik Lundstrom, will join specialists from different fields to discuss the biennale’s theoretical concepts. Also scheduled for the weekend is a performance by Leda Papaconstantinou, one of the pioneers of performance art in Greece.

Related Links > http://www.thessalonikibiennale.gr

Art on emergency situations September 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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The Athens version of a traveling project conceived by French artist Thierry Geoffroy/Colonel > Selected works from ‘Emergency Room’ transferred to the ‘Delay Museum’  while on each day, around noon, artists gather in the ‘Emergency Room’ 

Every day at a quarter past noon, a new group of artists gather outside “Emergency Room,” a room set up inside the Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center. Each carries a work made the day before on a theme chosen from the latest news. At 12.30 p.m. exactly, the doors of this round gallery space open and the artists get busy taking down the works that were hung on the walls by the preceding day’s artists and install the new ones. With only half an hour at their disposal, they move fast and with precision. Almost like news reporters who have to deliver the story in time, they operate with a sense of urgency.

If there is a visual equivalent for the daily press, then “Emergency Room” is probably the closest that an art exhibition can come to it. Each work has a lifespan of 24 hours, after that it becomes “old news,” like in a newspaper. The next day, a selection of them are moved to the adjacent room, the so-called “Delay Museum.” Here documentation is treated as archival material, not immediate information.

The works are generated daily in response to current events. But can they be considered as art or are they mere visual documentation with an artistic side?

Conceived by the French contemporary conceptual artist Thierry Geoffroy/Colonel as a constantly evolving, international project, “Emergency Room” cannot be compared to the usual art exhibition. Its primary objective is not the production of finished, complete works of art. According to the project’s concept, stated by Geoffroy/Colonel, “the quality of aesthetic of the exhibition is not important.” “The importance lies in the possibility to show art immediately… I believe that artists are the barometers of society and that we have to give them voice in real time, without delay before it is too late,” the French artist notes in the exhibition’s “manifesto.”

The project started out in Copenhagen’s Nikolaj Art Center and then moved on to the Olaf Stuber Gallery in Berlin and New York’s PS1/Moma. After Athens, it will travel to other European cities as well as Cairo.

Each project yields approximately 500 works and invites roughly 15 artists who are different at each event, on a daily basis. The process of installing the works is documented and, before entering the “Emergency Room” to install the works, a 15-minute interview session in which each artist provides information on the work that he has produced is conducted by an art historian, for the Athens project, Yiannis Kostantinidis is responsible for the entire documentation, or the gallery staff. The information is conveyed on the project’s website.

The project’s collaborative work is one of its most distinctive aspects. By gathering all these different artists and asking them to react to current issues, “Emergency Room” intends to evoke the spirit of activism, of collective, political action. The question of whether art can play an activist role springs to mind. Does art express sophisticated political statements that can reach the general public? Maybe not.

In “Emergency Room,” however, the political role of art does not seem to be the main objective. The idea is to give artists the opportunity to use their work in order to react immediately to current affairs. Artists are accorded the role of a news commentator. Art is produced in just a few hours and exhibited for just a day.

Seen from that angle, “Emergency Room” is a reaction to the accelerated pace of contemporary life and the fast flow of information. It is adapted to the contemporary phenomenon of short attention spans and the demand for newness and constant change.

In “Emergency Room,” art takes on the ephemeral character of a newspaper. To those who think of art as closer to a book than to a newspaper, as something to keep and refer to, this approach to art may, at first, feel a bit confusing. But the flexibility and lively aspect of the entire project is both refreshing and exciting, even for the more reserved visitor.

At the Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center, 48 Armatolon and Klefton Street, Athens, tel 210 6439466 to October 5.

Related Links > www.emergencyrooms.org/athens.html

Children refuse to lose hope September 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News.
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Athena Doufa and Iota Biniori, two students at the Nea Fiagaliea primary school, write about the fire that reached their village as well as their hopes for the future.

«When we first heard that fire had broken out in Kaiafa, we thought it wouldn’t reach our village, but in the end it did. It went through Zacharo, Neohori, Tholo, Taxiarches, Lepraioi, Faskomilia, and it almost went through our village. They managed to stop the fire just outside the village. When the fire got to Faskomilia, we all started filling up water bottles to fill the tanks so people could put out the fires.

«When the fire was outside our village, we were a bit scared that our fathers might get burnt, but they didn’t. They tried to stop our property from burning, to stop the moments that we lived in this place from burning. We depend on the olive trees, because we get some money from them. We had animals that we loved, but some of them got burnt.

«But we won’t lose hope that this beautiful forest will grow back. We believe that with school starting we’ll forget. We’ll replant with our teachers and everything will be like it was before.»