“Anything we know for Greece, starts from a story book and ends in a news release. Nevertheless, there is something more than these two ... " Comment by Jean, in front of a photo of Andreas Empeirikou, one of the dozens of works in the exhibition “Hell as Pavillion” that opened at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, last Monday (25/02/13). Unwittingly, with one simple phrase, the viewer sees the image of a country, which levitates, awkwardly between the glorious past and the anxiety about an uncertain future. This is sandwiched between these two “millstones”, ready to disappear beneath their weight. Can art show this difficult situation? Can it break the barriers? if so, how?
The negative publicity in recent years has been an unexpected side benefit. We became interesting and artistically valid. The visibility created embarrassment, Which image we choose to present our self to the outside? the national? The international? the distressed picture of economic collapse? After the exhibition held in Vienna last summer with the title, which was attended by Greek artists, a tribute to Paris comes to take over, “Our goal is not to capture what is currently happening in Greece through the eyes of artists” said the curator Nantia Argiropoulou.
“Is not an alternative reportage of the situation in which we live, On the contrary, we wanted to compose a painting, a mosaic of different tesserae, giving the public the opportunity to depart from recent stereotypes, which coincides with our country. Our identity is under construction, everything is fluid. This uncertainty and the struggle for the new, touches strangers, but it needs attention to how you describe the situation, without humiliation or victimization, without complexes and folklore. All that remains is to say without charging our own truth with dignity and low tones.”
Here is the challenge.
On Monday evening, a small hall of the vast museum was filled with personalities from the world of modern art. Swirling between Faitakis Stelio’s tables, texts and paintings of Nanos Valaoriti and Nikos Gabriel Pentzikis, photographic collage of Nikos Charalambides, Vasilis Karouk video and Lucia Alavanos and dozens of other artists participating in the exhibition. Greeks who live in Paris, French who showed interest, the eccentric loyal art crowd of Palais, hungry for new iconography, were all present at a meeting with many surprises. The most important thing is that this is an exhibition based on thorough research, tying works together in an invisible but effective way. A bridge connects one post-Byzantine icon with a video inspired by "Trojan Women".
The title “Hell As Pavillion” based on a pun of the Godard’s film “Socialism” (Helas in french mean woe, and Hell in english mean inferno). Narrative is densely populated, with many layers of reading, and actually resembles a mosaic. The title is not read linearly or circularly. It is instead read with branching, as supernatant as a palimpsest. All works exude a kind charmolypis, this magic power that Empeirikos describes how Greeks can change the fear of death as a creative inspiration” the curator explains.
The exhibition ends in early April. It includes a major program with short films and feature films. “We have chosen great material like Torne’s film Balamos and films of Damianos, of Papatakis of Rentzis, of Sfikas, of Tsiolis and Vakalopoulos, of Giannari and Athena Tsangari. It is necessary to give a complete picture” said miss Argiropoulou. The screenings take place in another area of this exhibition, within the museum and has already attracted the interest of the French public.
Read more about the exhibition here: http://www.palaisdetokyo.com/en/exhibition/modules-fondation-pierre-berge-yves-saint-laurent/hell-pavilion-0
Learn about Palais de Tokyo here:
This article is inspired from another article in the Greek newspaper "Kathimerini"