Modern art is often born from times of turmoil, I’ve recently returned from a short stay in Athens, Greece where the city is making a steady comeback after narrowly surviving economic collapse and dealing with the frontline of the refugee crisis. From dark times, some truly inspirational art exhibitions have emerged, here I have collated some of my favourites.
SI SEDES NON IS
curated by Milan Farronato at the Breeder Gallery, Athens.
The current exhibition at ‘The Breeder Gallery’ explores concepts of Discordianism; the concept of order and disorder, and the notion that both are mere illusions. Milan Farronato has brilliantly rejected both these principles to convey his reality. The gallery has been turned into an alchemical squat, a chaotically orchestrated gathering of sculptures, paintings and magical writings.
A simple metaphor for this discord is a story from August 1994. On a small island off the coast of Scotland, two art terrorists incinerated £1 million. The process was documented on film and the artists promised to release the reasons why 23 years later (2017). The mysticism surrounding their actions is seen in a philosophical context as a microcosm of what was to come with the forthcoming global economic crash, as though it has been envisioned before it had happened, invoking forms of clairvoyance, telepathy or magic.
Not everyone is happy about the influx of art however, ‘Documenta’ a German art festival that landed in Athens this Summer has received widespread criticism for using the Greek crises as a means to sell art, graffiti reads:
“I refuse to exoticize myself to increase your cultural capital. Signed: The People”
(The story of the red thread) – Cecilia Vicuña. National Museum of Contemporary Art
This monumental immersive poem in space exemplified the merging of Cecilia Vicuña’s material instincts as a visual artist with the visceral lyricism of her writing, she presents a ‘quipoem’, paying homage to the ancient pre-Colombian art of the quipu- a form of writing involving intricate knotting patterns. This particular quipu consists of giant strands of untreated wool, which have been sourced from a local Greek provider and dyed a startling crimson red in honour of a syncretic religious tradition that via the umbilical cord of menstrual symbolism, connects Andean mother goddesses with the maritime mythologies of Ancient Greece.
BOOBS the semiology of the breast,
The Art Foundation, curated by Areti Botsari.
The charm of the breast is lost in the depths of human history and goes hand in hand with the first steps of man on earth. From the prehistoric times when it is presented with the form of fertility and maternity to the industrial – technocapitalist world, the breast is going through an autonomous course and enters new semantic / research fields.
Today, the “political” breast stands up again, opposed to and against predetermined patriarchal norms and social formalisms. It demands “visibility” and voice in the public space and juxtaposes with its lively presence the predominant perception that wants it to be excluded, marginalized and, alienated from the social sphere and res publica.
The group of visual artists is invited to explore and cope with the timeless semantics of the breast, using artistic means and materials (on wall, two-dimensional and three-dimensional, digital, installations, sculptures). Thus, it seeks to impute the multi-prismatic profoundness that emerges from the engagement- experimentation of each one creative artist with the breast and its role in the world, the age, the society.
By Alex Theaker
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