CURRENT Athens is an online platform for the non-hierarchical promotion of contemporary art.
a.O. - b.c.*
An audiovisual diary
(*a.O. - b.c. = after Olympics - before crisis)
The exhibition is organised in collaboration with the Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA) and is hosted simultaneously in ASFA and State of Concept
Double opening December 7th:
Discussion at 16:00 at Athens School of Fine Arts ASFA (Piraeus street 256, former library) with Elpida Karaba and Despina Zefkili (in Greek)and from 20.00 onwards at State of Concept Athens (Tousa Botsari 19, Koukaki)
Loukia Alavanou, Nadja Argyropoulou, Barking Dogs United (Nikos Arvanitis and Naomi Tereza Salmon), Bill Balaskas, Manolis Baboussis, Athens Biennial, Margarita Bofiliou, Mary and the Boy, Amateur Boyz, Voltnoi Brege, Berlin Brides, The Callas, Kostas Christopoulos, Lydia Dambassina, Dora Economou, DESTE Foundation, Anastasia Douka, Drog A Tek, Erasers, Futura editions, Farida el Gazzar, Eva Giannakopoulou, Marina Gioti, Kyriaki Goni, Yota Ioannidou, Dionysis Kavallieratos, Eleni Kamma, Vlassis Kaniaris, Nikos Kanarelis, Irini Karayannopoulou, Elpida Karaba, Vasilis Karouk, Panos Kokkinias, Panos Koutras, George Lanthimos, Panayotis Loukas, Greece is for Lovers, Vardis Marinakis, Yolanda Markopoulou, Christoforos Marinos, Dimitris Merantzas, Margarita Myrogianni, Nikos Navridis, Nikos Nikolaidis, Orthologistes, Malvina Panagiotidi, Rallou Panagiotou, Maria Papadimitriou, Ilias Papailiakis, Leda Papakonstantinou, Eftyhis Patsourakis, Tassos Pavlopoulos, Natassa Poulantza, Theo Prodromidis, Kostas Roussakis, Kostas Sahpazis, Yorgos Sapountzis, Cristos Sarris, Fani Sofologi, Stixoima, Danae Stratou, Stefania Strouza, Thanasis Totsikas, Sofia Touboura, Nikos Tranos, Alexandros Tzannis, Syllas Tzoumerkas, Panos Tsagaris, Athena Rachel Tsangari, Jannis Varelas, Kostis Velonis, Vangelis Vlahos, Eirini Vourloumis, Tassos Vrettos, Poka-Yio, Despoina Zefkili, Mary Zygouri.
Fifteen years after the end of the 28th Olympic Games in Athens, Greece has not recovered from the crisis. Traveling back to 2004-2010, a re-visiting through the spectrum of culture reveals a lot about the climate then and now. In September 2004, just after the successful hosting of the Olympics, Greece was slowly embarking on a economic downturn, invisible to the majority of the population. It led on April 23rd 2010, to then Prime Minister George Papandreou to announce that Greece was entering the International Monetary Fund (IMF) support mechanism; the beginning to an endless path of austerity.
This exhibition sheds light on a five-year period of rich audio and visual cultural production in the interval between those two events: the end of the Olympics, and the entry into the IMF mechanism. The prevailing global narrative on Greece at the end of the Olympics was a positive one: the cradle of European thinking, the mother of Western culture, succeeded in organising a highly celebrated aesthetically pleasing event that was viewed by millions all over the world. In just five years Greece would have a completely different profile on the front pages of international press, as a bankrupt country, not civilised enough, in a collapsed financial state due to corruption and over-spending of European grants; a country that over-borrowed but was begging for more money. A country that wanted to deceive the economically stable Northern Europe, with Greeks portrayed as "lazy".
This exhibition attempts to trace the footprints of this change over the past five years through examples of cultural production of the period, and to contour what kind of climate was prevailing in Athens by the end of the Olympics, and how it shifted but also to look for possible examples of utopian or dystopian representations for a future for Athens and Greece through the narrative of artists, filmmakers, musicians and designers.
a.O. - b.c. zooms in specifically on the question of art and its relationship to the fetishistic narrative (both foreign and of the Greek society) of contemporary Greece as a continuation of its ancient heritage as well as its reflection on the concept of “Greekness”, and furthermore aims to unearth the articulation of a glossary that contoured the cultural production of the period. The exhibition aims to highlight the efforts traced in cultural production that formed the basis but also the introduction, to the current international interest in Athens in its post-documenta era.
From artistic collectives, curatorial initiatives and independent movements of filmmakers, to music groups with a newfound political discourse and experimentations through new media, cultural production in Athens between 2004-2010 was a nucleus for the redefinition of national identity, sociopolitical concerns, investigations and positioning but also a ground for a new discourse that described local cultural production in new terms in relation to its past but also the global international scene.
The exhibition serves as a sample presentation of a small section of many examples of initiatives and actions presented at that time, through the memories of State of Concept's team (Vicky Zioga, Electra Karatza, Maria Adela Konomi, Lydia Markaki and iLiana Fokianaki).
Catalogue Texts: Yorgos Tzirtzilakis, iLiana Fokianaki
Special thanks to Sofia Georgovassili, Ioanna Gerakides, Vangelis Vlahos, Niovi Zarambouka-Hatzimanou.