Here, that is, Where
For every city there are emblematic statements which are played on repeat. This is a persisting breed of readymade spatial fables that gets normalized as tradition bracketed within a location-specific folklore. It remains always a debatable point whether these references stand as potent links of past spatial interrogations to current location-specific conversations or if they occur as now extinct narratives, unreal and stalling for the present. Even so, a picturesque or legendary past is measured against its affinity to an experienced present. Following this line of thinking, it would be interesting to ask how could one refresh or re-use conventions, projections, and worn-out clichés in order to depict the city of Athens as it is now.
In the streets of the city the native Athenian rubs shoulders with the permanent resident who was born and raised elsewhere, the country cousin visiting the capital, the tourist from abroad longing to experience the famous Greek sunshine and see the Acropolis, the abused refugee hoping for stability, the illegal immigrant looking for a better life, the love immigrant worshipping the locale of their affair, the financial immigrant looking for job and safety. All of them, whether walking the same streets or not, sharε the same geographical point in a map. But do they share the same city?
Each of us handles a different array of urban myths in order to answer the pressing question ‘where exactly am I?’, so crucial to the further understanding of an immediate, everyday allocation of space. Within this novel multiplicity of voices, there arises the need to comprehend the city’s identity and our participation in such narrative. The sense of historical continuation, the respect to the city environment and the rightful claims to the improvement of urban life, are all related to the above precondition, since such stances depend upon personal knots of meaning-making within the city. Such recounting is structured in daily going-ons, punctuated by adjustable focal points, marked by beloved or loathed locales, lived in spatiotemporal points of emotional departure, elliptical notes, evasions or displaced interpretations. This is a hybrid text, a subjective, introvert, fragmented archive of urban experiences, filled with shortcuts, fictional maps, personal monuments or enacted fictions.
The exhibition Here, that is, Where?, focuses on an externalization of this archive as a visually expressed, cultural experience. The presented works interpret the tangible or fictional relationship of each artist with the city of Athens, whether it comes from experience or a favourable fable. These personal viewpoints communicated publicly lead from the extrovert, open horizon of the urban set-up, towards the inner undercurrent of thoughts pertinent to artistic production. It is our hope that, as the private memories and images, once properties of an urban resident or visitor, associated with the urban experiences of many a negotiation takes place about what has now emerged as the new urban saga.
Curated by: Nina Kotamanidou
Artists: Io Aggeli, Eleftheria Alexandri, Dimitris Anyfantakis, Andromachi Giannopoulou, Tati Douvana, Yiannis Kalliantas, Nina Kotamanidou, Chrisa Lamprakopoulou, Dorina Malliou, Frini Mouzakitou, Michail Parlamas, Christos Ponis, Georgia Touliatou, Vassilis Fiorentzakis, The Beheaded Researchers.
The exhibition «Here, that is, Where?» is curated by Nina Kotamanidou, as a part of the Back to Athens International Art Meeting 2022.
Back to Athens 9 | International Art Meeting 2022 is organised by APART Art Research and Applications under the auspices of the City of Athens, with the support of the Austrian Embassy Athens and the Ministry of Culture of Austria, Zoia, produced and coordinated by CHEAPART, with the participation of the Cultural program Athens Intersection, theculturechannel.com and communication sponsor, dreamideamachine.
Back to Athens 9 | International Art Meeting 2022
No apocalypse now: A review
65 Patision and Ioulianou str., 104 33, Athens Greece
«Here, that is, Where?», 2nd floor
Opening: Wednesday, June 29, 16:00 - 22:00
Duration: June 29 - July 3, 2022
Hours: Wednesday - Friday 16:00 - 22:00, Saturday - Sunday 12:00 - 22:00