Last weekend (May18-21), the Athens Digital Art Festival 2017 took place for another year! “Postfuture “, the theme title of this year’s festival describes long story short what one could see.
These kinds of projects prove that despite the financial and sociopolitical issues, Athens remains a city “thirsty” for creativity and new ideas!
Ti begin with, the thing that made me happy as a visitor and art lover in this Festival, was the number of visitors and the variety of people (art students, youngsters, tourists, but also families with their kids).
Two more outstanding elements of the Festival were the international character of the showcases, including pieces from all over the world (one was made by Bjork!) and the great organization of the event and the work of the volunteers(despite the long hours of work since the festival was open tall day till midnight). One could see that all the people working in the exhibition were happy about it, loved it and they were really helpful and well informed. I took the guided walk and it was very informative. It took us a bit less than 3 hours to see the exhibits in all 5 floors but it was very interesting and our tour guide knew everything by heart, she had humor and a great plan for moving in the exhibition, despite that large number of the group.
Located in the heart of Athens, in a quite new building that combines neoclassic architecture with modern lines and materials, the exhibition was easy to access and very audience friendly with all the freebies, the labs and the augmented reality games offered by the sponsor.
As far as the exhibits are concerned, each and every piece of them had a very special character and approach. What is interesting is that despite the different mediums or ways of expression, one could notice that contemporary artists, no matter what background and were they come from, have the need to showcase with their work same kind of issues and concerns like socioeconomics, environment and the question of the different dimensions that exist and that we cannot see. Thus, all the pieces were to the point of the title of the festival ”postfuture”.
Last, but for sure not least, I feel I need to talk about the floor dedicated to kids… and maybe not only the kids! There was a floor dedicated to interactive projects that invited kids to play and enjoy and older people to find the kid hidden in them and just have fun. A very educational way to enjoy technology!
Let’s hope next year we will see something as exciting as this year! It was a definite must see! Congrats to all participants, volunteers, sponsors and the organizing team!
Like every year for the last 12 years, Art-Athina took place from the 4th to the 7th of June in Athens. It is supposed to be the biggest and most international contemporary art fair in Athens. Most (if not all) art galleries in Athens participate in it. Last year, though nobody can deny the large number of galleries that participated in the fair, it was not very “international,” nor was there any spectacularly different media apart from the classic paintings in frames. So, in those terms, though there were nice pieces of art, one would not say that last year’s fair could be compared to any of London’s contemporary art fairs. (This is not to say that the art pieces were not interesting.) For all these reasons, I was very curious to see the evolution of this fair this year and also the reaction of the audience . . . . This year I visited the exhibition with art students from the U.S. It was really interesting to ask their opinions, too. To begin with, it was great to see that there was a large audience that visited the fair. The sad part, though, is that there was a bit less participations of Greek galleries, and knowing the situation from the inside, I can tell that this is the result of the financial crisis, since art, unfortunately, is considered a luxury and not a commodity. Nonetheless, the happy part is the fact that Greek galleries have started supporting artistic experimentation with different materials, construction, lights, etc. For once, one could see art pieces that do represent our era and not the past! And it needs to be like that, if this fair wants to continue to be referred to as a “contemporary ” art fair. This fact means that both the galleries and the audience are ready to embrace a more open view and widen their perspectives. Another great thing at this fair was the great support from sponsors and institutions, such as the Fulbright, and the support of the Art Schools of Greece. Finally, it was also nice to see collaborations in projects and an entire part of the fair dedicated to galleries from many countries, as well as the interesting lectures taking place at the fair. The most innovative pieces, of course, were the ones from the international galleries. Asking the people with whom I visited the fair (that were no Greek), I was happy to see that, despite the “fear” of using new ways of expressing themselves, some of the Greek artists gained the interest of an international audience. Let’s hope that for the best for the future J
The Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens is hosting Christian Boltanski’s “EYES” exhibition, till the 12th January. The French sculptor, photographer, painter and film maker has a very unique way of approaching the space of the exhibition while making viewers participants to his “Eyes” installation. The exhibition has three parts that are totally recommended to be seen; as the one connects mentally with the other: the first part is the projection of a fifty minute video that illustrates the views, the beliefs and the approaches of the artist. The second part is the actual exhibition that is devided into three installations that coexist. The third part constitutes an invitation of the artist to the visitors in order to record their heartbeat and contribute to the artist’s experiment of gathering heartbeats from all over the world as an alternative international collage of personal identities that will be gathered in a small island in Japan.
In the first part, visitors understand the state of mind of this contemporary artist. He believes that artists are storytellers and believes in freedom and equality of people. He combines old and new methods to make his statements, though his work does not have a frame of stability in order the installations to be preserved after the exhibitions. In antithesis to this periodicity of the installations, Boltansky classifies and records almost euverything.
In the second part, the actual “eyes” exhibition takes place. Boltanski theatrical background, creates an atmosphere that invites the visitors to participate and become part of the installation. Low lighting, air and materials are some elements that are used by the artist to create a more complete environment that make the viewers part of the exhibition. Uniqueness of its person but also collectivity without discriminations are shown through the eyes and the data collected and used by the artist.
In the third part, people are invited to record their heartbeat and listen to it. For the artist this heartbeat data constitutes a personal portrait of each human being , as each heartbeat is as unique as a footprint. People can take the file of their heartbeat with them and this file will be used by the artist to an international collage of heartbeats that will be kept in a little japanese island. This could be a beginning of a story…
As a conclusion, this exhibition is quite short, yet set in a very unique way. It can change one’s perception of how people differentiate and how similar we all are. We all have a heartbeat, yet each heart beats its’ own unique way…
Άκου την καρδιά σου: το εγχείρημα του Boltanski.
Η Στέγη Γραμμάτων και τεχνών Ωνάση φιλοξενεί την έκθεση με τίτλο “Μάτια” του Κριστιάν Μπολτάνσκι, μέχρι τις 12 Ιανουαρίου. Ο Γάλλος γλύπτης, φωτογράφος, ζωγράφος και σκηνοθέτης έχει ένα δικό του πολύ μοναδικό τρόπο προσέγγισης του χώρου της έκθεσης, κάνοντας τον θεατή να συμμετέχει μέσα στην εγκατάσταση της έκθεσης. Ηέκθεση απαρτίζεται από τρία μέρη όπου συνιστάται οι θεατές να αφιερώσουν χρόνο και για τα τρία, μιας και αλληλοσυνδέονται νοηματικά μεταξύ τους. Το πρώτο μέρος της έκθεσης αποτελεί μια προβολή ενός πενηντάλεπτου βίντεο στο οποίο αναλύονται οι απόψεις, οι σκέψεις και οι τρόποι προσέγγισης του Μπολτάνσκι. Το δεύτερο μέρος αποτελεί την καθεαυτού έκθεση, η οποία απαρτίζεται από τρεις κατασκευές που συνυπάρχουν. Το τρίτο μέρος αποτελεί την πρό(σ)κληση του καλλιτέχνη στους επισκέπτες της έκθεσης να ηχογραφήσουν τον χτύπο της καρδιάς τους και να συμβάλλουν κατά τον τρόπο αυτό στο εγχείρημα του καλλιτέχη να συλλέξει ήχους των χτύπων της καρδιάς από όλο τον κόσμο, κάτι σαν ένα παγκόσμιο κολάζ από προσωπικές ταυτότητες που θα υπάρχει φυλαγμένο στο σύνολο του σε ένα μικρό νησάκι της Ιαπωνίας.