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Exploring gender issues at Bios April 1, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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An intriguing festival organized by the Goethe institutes of Southeastern Europe comes to Athens > Berliner Joy Gutthardt’s performances explore stereotypes of the female gender. The artist is one of many German performers who will be coming to Athens for the Genderpop festival this week.

An unusual festival featuring cinema, performance art, video installations, live music shows and contemporary dance kicked off at downtown Bios yesterday. What brings all the different artistic genres together? A look at the role of the sexes and people’s identity.

The series of events comes as an initiative of the Goethe Institutes based in Southeastern Europe, the cultural centers are currently approaching the issue of gender, participating in a contemporary and global discussion on the socially predetermined, fabricated and stereotyped roles of the sexes.

Many are already acquainted with so-called gender studies, in the last few decades alone, they have made their presence increasingly felt in university programs around the world. Perhaps those familiar with these developments on the academic front will have a clearer picture of what lies ahead at Bios this week.

They may have also heard of Judith Butler, the American writer and professor at California’s Berkeley, author of “Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity.” Published in 1990, the book examined the notion of sex as a role. A feminist, Butler put forward the idea that a person’s sex identity has to do with specific moments and actions, she called it gender performativity. Difficult ideas to deal with back then, and not much has changed.

Don’t worry about the academic aspect however when it comes to the Bios events this week. The festival kicked off with a screening of Athanasios Karanikolas’s “S” and continues with short films shot by Jan Kruger between 2000 and 2007, along with a collection of films by Ula Stokl and Edgar Reitz from 1970.

Besides cinema, Genderpop, the three-day program starts in the Bios foyer on Friday, featuring art and music videos, performances, concerts and DJ sets. Among the guests is Berliner Joy Gutthardt, an actress whose performances explore the stereotypes of the female gender, Berlin singer Namosh, as well as female trio Rhythm King & Her Friends. All in all an intriguing group of artists taking over the downtown space this week.

Bios Venue, 84 Pireos Street, Athens.

Related Links >  www.goethe/de/athen


Art Athina 2008 growing in stature > opens end of May March 28, 2008

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New plans announced for the annual, contemporary fair which is scheduled to open at the end of May

Art Athina, the capital’s contemporary art fair, attracts the local public as well as a number of international collectors. This year’s event will be held at the Helexpo grounds and will be even more extensive than last year’s event.

28-03-08_art_athina.jpg  Art Athina, the city’s contemporary art fair that is scheduled to open May 22, is one of the most happening and international events on the city’s contemporary art scene. At an informal meeting with members of the press, Art Athina’s Artistic Director Christos Savvidis and General Director Michalis Argyrou [essentially the event’s organizers], presented the main sections of the event, spoke with enthusiasm of their expectations of it and stressed the fact that this Athens art fair is gradually becoming a recognizable, international event with a growing, sound reputation.

The Hellenic Art Galleries Association has been the event’s organizing institution from the start. Savvidis and Argyrou are in charge of the Art Athina fair for the second consecutive year. Last year, the change of hands from the previous organizers to the current ones was one of the reasons that caused confusion and dissent. As a result, several Greek galleries refused to participate. However, last year’s success seems to have changed the negative attitude, bringing most of the dissenting galleries back to the event.

According to the organizers, another accomplishment is the fact that some of the most important, cutting-edge international galleries which participated in Art Athina for the first time last year have shown a willingness to participate at this year’s event as well: Peres projects from Germany, Monitor from Italy, Christian Nagel Gallery from Germany, and the Maag Gallery from Switzerland are among them.

Does that mean that Athens is coming to the attention of the international art market? According to Savvidis, Art Athina not only attracts Greek buyers but many international art collectors as well. To a certain extent, this is due to the work that has been put into the so-called VIP program, which aims at luring international buyers to the Athens art fair by organizing special events. Savvidis also noted that recent art events, such as the two contemporary art biennials held last year in Athens and Thessaloniki, have helped create a buzz around the contemporary art scene in Greece. He also said that the fact that Art Athina is relatively small in scale when compared to the big European art events means that it can retain a more homogenized and focused personality, something which adds to its attraction.

Held at the Helexpo building, as in previous years, the 2008 Art Athina will be based on the same idea as last year’s event: “Basic Plan”, the main exhibition hall, will include 45 booths by Greek and international galleries. Isabella Bortolozzi will curate an independent section. Presented on a different floor, “Open Plan” is a separate, large display in which the art shown and the galleries represented are selected by a specific art curator. For this year, the curator is Bettina Busse, who works with the Vienna Museum of Modern Art.

Sarah Belden who works with Curators without Borders – a platform for independent art curators based in Berlin – has prepared “Focus: Berlin-New York, First We Take Manhattan Then We Take Berlin”, a curatorial project that compares the contemporary art scenes of Berlin and New York City.

Art Athina also hosts a range of parallel projects, exhibitions that show the different facets of contemporary art. In the basement of the Helexpo building, Marina Fokidi has curated “The Garage Project”, an exhibition on the local contemporary art scene. Intended as a cool and hip exhibition, it encourages interaction and creates a relaxed, playful environment. Video art projections, for example, are designed in a way that resembles a summer, open-air cinema.

Also part of the “Parallel Projects” section of Art Athina is “Lion under the Rainbow: Art from Tehran”, an exhibition on contemporary Iranian art which is curated by artist Alexandros Georgiou and produced by D.ART. The exhibition will be held in a building in the city center [at 48-50 Aeolou Street, Athens].

“Elements of Light” curated by Boris Manner, professor at Vienna’s University of Applied Arts, is an exhibition that presents the works that the Russian artist Eugenia Emets and Austrian artist Markus Proschek produced during a residency on the island of Syros. The exhibition, held at the Hellenic American Union, is organized by the University of Applied Arts in collaboration with the Stella Art Foundation. Based on a Russian private art collection, this foundation is in the process of opening a Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow. Savvidis has said that the Museum will be directed by Robert Storr, director of the Venice Biennale in 2007 and a former dean of the Yale School of Art. The foundation has acquired several works from Art Athina. Savvidis said that the new Museum will include a section on contemporary Greek art.

Also part of the parallel project events will be an exhibition that will present works from the Costakis Collection of early-20th-century Russian Avant-Garde. The State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, which owns the collection together with the Museum of Cycladic Art which will host the exhibition, are the organizers.

During the three-days of Art Athina, there will also be round-table discussions, art presentations and lectures by artists, collectors, gallerists and international curators. Independent curators Catherine David and Christian Viveros-Faune are among the participants.

By building an international network, Art Athina hopes to gradually give more exposure to Greek artists but to also offer the Greek public a more rounded view of the international art scene. Organizers seem confident that this is already well under way.

Art Athina 2008 will open on May 23 at the Helexpo Palace, 39 Kifissias Avenue, Maroussi, Athens and will be open to May 25.

Related Links > www.art-athina.gr

Art Festival for Human Rights triggers dialogue March 28, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece, Arts Festivals.
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The neighborhood of Exarchia in central Athens is about to be transformed into an alternative art center for a week.

Different kinds of art, including painting, street art, photography, installations and video screenings, will take over the block surrounded by Arachovis, Themistocleous, Coletti and Zoodochou Pigis Streets, as the second “Wo + Man =?” festival kicks off tonight.

Organized by the Open Horizons organization as part of the 6th Art Festival for Human Rights, this year’s event will explore sexuality, gender and identity issues. With the focus being on street art, 40 artists will redefine the use of public space as a venue for communicating with the public, by selecting outdoor and indoor spaces of bars, restaurants, cafes and other stores to exhibit their work. By exploring the possibilities that public and private venues can offer, they are hoping to send out a message about art and society. The aim is to create a bridge of communication with visitors and passers-by and trigger dialogue and a collective conscience.

28-03-08_human_rights.jpg  The festival’s central venue will be the Cosmos of Culture Center on the corner of Andrea Metaxa and Emmanouil Benaki Streets. That is where the official opening will take place, at 7 p. m. today and where information regarding all of the scheduled events will be available. Cosmos of Culture will also host all the video screenings.

Participating artists include Alexandros Avranas, Artemis Alkalai, Alma Bakiaj, Margarita Gelada, Giorgos Gyparakis, Antigone Kavvatha, Anna Laskari, Caroline May, Costas Beveratos, Giorgos Tserionis, Dorota Zglobicka, Ioanna Ximeri, Vangelis Raftogiannis and many others. The event was conceived and curated by Costas Theonas.

The festival will run until Sunday, April 5 and will be open daily 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission to all venues is free. For further information call 210 3303385 or 210 8846038.

Related Links > www.humanrights.gr and www.cosmosofculture.gr

Art exhibition presents history through subjective stories March 27, 2008

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Despina Meimaroglou and Deimantas Narkevicius at Thessaloniki’s SMCA

26-03-08_genius_seculi1.jpg  An image from the video ‘Disappearance of a Tribe’ by Deimantas Narkevicius. 

26-03-08_genius_seculi2.jpg  A photograph from Despina Meimaroglou’s project inspired by her trip to Cambodia.

During a trip to Cambodia three years ago, artist Despina Meimaroglou visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in the capital Phnom Penh. Originally a school, it had been converted into a torture site during Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime before much later becoming a Museum.

Impressed by the numbers of young students waiting to visit the former torture chambers, Meimaroglou began thinking about rememberance and the strong effect that certain historical events can have on our lives. Her visit to Cambodia provided one more occasion to ponder on politics and history, steady subject matter in the work of this politically oriented artist. Upon her return, and still deeply stressed by the strong effect that the visit to the Genocide Museum had on her, Meimaroglou began work on a new project.

“Discovering the Other – Tuol Sleng, After all who Rewrites History after You” the title of the art installation that ensued after the artist’s visit to Cambodia, is one of the artist’s two works presented in “Genius Seculi”, a joint exhibition on the work of Meimaroglou and the well-known Lithuanian artist Deimantas Narkevicius, who represented his country at the 2001 Venice Biennale. The exhibition is organized by the Center of Contemporary Art, a section of the Thessaloniki State Museum of Contemporary Art (SMCA) and curated by Syrago Tsiara, the Center’s Director.

Meimaroglou and Narkevicius both share an interest in exploring issues related to history and politics through personal narratives. They both view history through subjective, individual stories and explore the interplay between the personal and the collective.

Narkevicius raises issues related to his country’s recent history and uses film and video in the style of a documentary. “Once in the XX Century”, a film presented in the Thessaloniki exhibit, is a montage of footage documenting the tearing down of public sculpture during the period of the early 1990s when Soviet control of Lithuania came to an end. The overpowering presence of the sculpture is a metaphor for the staying effects of the Soviet regime. According to the artist, it suggests that the immediate changes that everybody hoped for were not effected, that the “utopia of liberalism, which then seemed the only way” did not become a reality.

The work of Narkevicius speaks of the importance of thinking about recent history in a critical and profound way. His work suggests that being oblivious to historical events is at the expense of awareness of both history and oneself.

In the video “Dissapearance of a Tribe”, Narkevicius reflects on the history of his country from the 1950s to today through a selection of images taken from his family photo album. Again, his work examines the ways in which the large events of history trickle down into the lives of people or how personal stories reflect broader, historical events.

This quest is also to be found in the work of Meimaroglou. In the video installation “Annette McGavigan: A Personal Story becomes History” Meimaroglou tells the story of a 15-year-old girl who was killed by British soldiers during the traumatic Bloody Sunday events in Northern Ireland in 1972. After a chance meeting with the victim’s brother in Athens a few years ago, Meimaroglou began collecting all sorts of archival material on this relatively recent chapter of Northern Ireland’s history.

Her work engages the notion of historical memory. The artist pays tribute to the anonymous victims of violence and tragic historical events. Both her work and the work of Narkevicius are a reminder that history is a living experience that shapes the present and our self-understanding.

“Genius Seculi” at the SMCA, Thessaloniki, to 30 April. For information call 2310 546683.

Related Links > www.cact.gr



A solo photo show at the Benaki Museum March 27, 2008

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A few years ago, Pavlos Kozalides traveled the region of the Black Sea in order to document the lives of the area’s Greeks. In many ways, it was voyage in search of his own roots. Of Pontic descent himself, he grew up listening to his family talk about their lives in Ordu, Turkey, before the 1923 exchange of populations.

Kozalides visited Ordu as well as other regions of Turkey but also traveled to Georgia, Ukraine and Russia. The photographs he produced, on a commission from the Benaki Museum, are exhibited in “Pavlos Kozalides: Seeking a Lost Homeland”, an exhibition curated by the artist and on display at the main building of the Benaki Museum, while the Museum’s Photographic Archives is the organizer.

Kozalides seeks out those aspects of Greek tradition that still survive in the communities of Greeks living in the Black Sea and draws attention to an important but somewhat neglected part of the Greek diaspora.

Born in Piraeus in 1961, Kozalides moved with his family to Canada when he was 7. He started working as a photographer in the 1980s, upon his permanant return to Greece. He has traveled extensively, photographing different parts of the world. The Benaki exhibition is the first public presentation of his work.

“Pavlos Kozalides: Seeking a Lost Homeland”, Benaki Museum, 1 Koumbari Street, Athens, tel 210 3671000. To April 13.

Related Links > www.benaki.gr

An exhibition of photographs on fire-stricken Ileia March 22, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece, Arts Museums.
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Exhibition of before-and-after images of fire-stricken Ileia at the Gaia Center

An exhibition of photographs by Katerina Aidoni titled “A View of Ileia, Before and After”, that is, before and after last summer’s forest fires – opened at the Gaia Center last night to mark World Forestry Day celebrated on March 21.

The exhibition was launched last night by Niki Goulandris, head of the Goulandris Natural History Museum and its board. The photograph featured here shows the Hill of Cronus, Ancient Olympia, as it is now. The fires that engulfed the prefecture of Ileia threatened the Olympic flame-lighting ceremony but fortunately the gods of Olympus intervened and saved the site.

The Gaia Center, 100 Othonos Street, Kifissia, Athens.

Related Links > http://www.gnhm.gr/MuseumSelect.aspx?lang=en-US

A Meeting at the Athens Ancient Agora March 20, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece, Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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The Foundation of the Hellenic World presents its new exhibition “Meeting at the Ancient Agora” and which focuses on the values that were born in the Ancient Agora of Athens and shaped contemporary political thought: freedom, justice, education, isonomy, freedom of speech, sociability and participation to common affairs.

With natural exhibits and interactive applications of advanced technology, the exhibition brings to life the social, political and intellectual reality of the city of Athens in the period in which the Agora was constructed.

Related Links > http://meeting.athens-agora.gr/index_en.html