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“OPEN ARCHIVE: Public Art from the Center of Athens” at Art Athina


June 2015

The Contemporary Greek Art Institute–iset participates in the InternationalContemporary Art Fair of Athens, Art Athina 2015, with the exhibition Open Archive: Public art from the center of Athens. The exhibition focuses on public art that has been installed or was proposed for the historical center of the city of Athens, with special reference to the Omonoia–Panepistimiou–Syntagma areas. Ephemera, performances and events that took place in the area, are also being shown, in an attempt to challenge the preconceptions regarding public art, its monumentality, stability and temporality. Open Archive showcases photos, video, designs, tests, letters and articles drawnfrom the collections of the Contemporary Greek Art Institute, the Benaki Museum Archives, the Municipality of Athens Historical Archives, the Zongolopoulos Foundation, The Library of the Hellenic Parliament and from the personal files of artists who were associated with or worked in the specific area. The exhibition proposes, an extrovert and open archive of realized projects, and also an archive of possibilities, competing visions and alternative settings. Some of the examples of public art presented in the exhibition were created, installed and to this day remain in the public space, while some have been destroyed or withdrawn. Other exhibits represent proposals that never reached the final stage, were developed up to the level of a study, or were simply expressed as thought experiments. Shown together, all these artistic interventions create anew experience for the spectator who can now contemplate how urban space is under constant and competitive reconfiguration. The potential, the relocated, the transitory or the ephemeral are thus shown to be not the exception, but the very modalities constituting our relationship with public urban space.The exhibition is an attempt to map the creative process, the public debates around the installation of sculptures as well as the results of competitions aiming to change the urban fabric. The exhibition’s main objective is to develop an expansive and open archive of public art. An archive that underlines the role political, social and institutional factors play in shaping public art, while also remaining sensitive to how complex the influence of these factors is, and how diverse the resistance to them in any given period. With this in mind, we have also invited contemporary artists Sofia Dona, Georgia Sagri and Arbit City Group to present work which interferes, disrupts and blurs the boundaries between the artistic, curatorial and archival practice.


Curator:Panos Giannikopoulos
Stefanos Ziras
Eleni Papadimitriou
Work group–Research:
Danae Balabani
Tatiana May Kallergi
Christina Petkopoulou

Graphic Design: Stavros Bilionis

Contemporary Greek Art Institute–iset