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“Chorographies, points of flight” at Artscape Athens

18.09.14 – 05.10.14

The space of our life is not continuous, infinite, homogenous, or isotropic. But do we really know exactly where it breaks, disconnects and reassembles itself?[…] The issue is not to invent space, let alone to reinvent it, but to examine it or just to read it. Georges Perec, Espèces d’espaces, 1974

“Chrorographies, points of flight” seeks to explore the subjective dimension of space and the role of the elements of movement, derive, repetition and conflict in the work of ten contemporary Greek visual artists.

Edward Casey argues that our life is so overly “place-saturated” that the sole notion of the non-place or the placeless space, could trigger the deepest anxiety (Casey,E. 1993). Departing from this particular anxiety of the non-space and relating it with the fear of the unfamiliar of the otherness, which is being suppressed as an unclean, fearful and dangerous body (Koukoutsaki, A. 1999), this exhibition attempts to approach points of flight, through which texture, layers, fantasies and spatial transcendences acquire a new “visibility”( Lefebvre,H. 1991).

The location of the art space Artscape Athens, permeated by consecutive transformations, social dynamics of coexistence and conflict becomes particularly important for the reasoning behind this exhibition. In a flat of the 30’s further down the road next to Amerikis Square, elements of the spatial experience that are usually omitted under dominant visual representations –diversities, contradictions, the random, and temporal discontinuities– are brought to the fore, through a dialogue of artistic practices and interventions.

The title of the exhibition refers to the concept “lines of flight” employed by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari to urge for the need of new forms of creation that as opposed to the structure of the horizontally rooted tree of knowledge, would allow for innumerable, random, unexpected points of encounter to arise (Deleuze, G.& Guattari, F.1980).

Searching such “points of flight”, the traditional binary oppositions of spatial analysis, such as ‘inside-outside’, ‘movement-stillness’, ‘empty-full’, ‘native-nomadic’, ‘destruction-creation’ are being reexamined only to be challenged, while the interest of the artists turns to what lies in-between: relationships, asymmetries and confusions.

Anthi Daoutaki in her work Darkroom, by accumulating material from the photo lab on Menandrou Street, where immigrants are being photographed in order to communicate to their relatives an idealized present, she studies the binary ‘imaginary-real’, the disappointment of expectations and the creation of the image of happiness. She examines the efforts to simulate the alleged bliss of consumerism as this is being reproduced in contemporary capitals.

Ira Spagadorou unfolds the temporal continuities and discontinuities of the urban environment, focusing on details, which she captures by hand: In her works from the 10434series, the artist applies ink and varnish on pavement parts of Fylis Street, which she then prints on Japanese paper, pressing them with her own body. She uses the same technique in Syntagma Square recording traces of riots. The traditional technique of printmaking is being displaced in public space with its structural elements serving as the printing matrix.

Iraklis Kopitas focuses on urban markings, the personal traces left by passersby, creating points of reference. The artist captures, collects and classifies those markings, approaching the relationship between space and memory, the claim for public space, and the multitude of memories encountered on a surface.

Mary Roussioti intervenes on the canvas, rendering the texture of urban writing, as seen in graffiti, tags, and slogans of the city walls. With the use of airbrush and diluted wash, she employs the collage-décollage technique and creates works in which pluralism and the ephemeral of the urban experience emerge as an ongoing game with abstraction.

Panos Papadopoulos’ works shed light to the issue of mass culture and the dynamic of the rhythm of successive spatial rewritings. With the use of markers and oil paints, writing in Papadopoulos’ work becomes a tool of intervention and deconstruction, but also a means of creating unexpected artistic compositions. By expanding the limits of writing with automatic movements, the contradictions and the complexities of the urban landscape are being transferred on the canvas.

Ellie Koutsoukeli’s abstract compositions with Indian ink allude to an alternate sense of spatial perspective. Koutsoukeli uses an unconventional landscape technique; with the vertical position she adopts when drawing and the ceaseless flow of her motion, the artist develops a sort of ‘automatic writing’, which brings to light textures, details, voids and non-voids, conflicts and interruptions.

Angelos Bousbouras, in his projectmotion2sound, transforms physical movement with the use of new media. The slightest movement sequence is reflected in space as sound, forming an alternating three-dimensional soundscape. The resulting fluidity of senses suggests a genre of interaction that highlights the complexities, the diversities and the progress of body movement itself.

Katerina Papazissi studies the connection between the body shape and the texture of the urban environment. She focuses on the intersections between the living and the material, the in-between space formed by architectural flaws and physical wounds.

Andreas Lyberatos uses architectural structures reversing their terms of use and experimenting with their scale. He converts them from non-volatile spatial elements to means of a personal derive; tools of flight for spontaneous markings of space.

The Network of Nomadic Architecture is a community of architects, visual artists and theorists. The actions of Nomadic Architecture traverse public space and urban voids, searching for intersections between the human body and the ground of the city.  They explore the associations between Art and Architecture using theoretical tools from the fields of Social Anthropology, Philosophy and Urban studies. In the context of the exhibition, Eleni Tzirtzilaki presents archival material and maps derived from a fieldwork study in Amerikis Square, which unravel narrations of the residents, issues of spatial boundaries, inhabitation, immigration, and cohabitation.

On Saturday, September 20 and on Sunday, September 21, the Network Nomadic Architecture will realize the workshops: “Travelling and Inhabiting Amerikis Square”. The objective of these collective workshops is to explore the practice of mapping, not as an instrument of recording and control, but as a means of expression and discussion among the different communities and the residents of the neighborhood.

Participating artists: Angelos Bousbouras, Anthi Daoutaki, Iraklis Kopitas, Elli Koutsoukelli, Andreas Lyberatos, Network of Nomadic Architecture – Eleni Tzirtzilaki, Panos Papadopoulos, Katerina Papazissi, Mary Roussioti, Ira Spagadorou

Curated by:  Panos Giannikopoulos, Aglaia Komninou, Christina Petkopoulou

Warmest thanks to : Christina Coveou, Maria-Ioanna Louizou, Yianni Vovo, Niko Mainari, Niko Myrtou, Gianni Lambrou, Myrsini Paspati, Danai Mpalampani, Dimitra Charalampidou, Dimitra Tsiaouskoglou, Nota Koulourioutou, the Greek Institute of Contemporary Art and Christian Jacob.

We also thank: all the residents of Kypseli who happily agreed to give us interviews, BABEL, Kypseli 2012, 18 Ano and Kethea DIavasi.