The exhibition proposes to reflect upon ‘craft as power’, as an ability or capacity to act in order to reclaim the knowledge of design and artistic autonomy. The research on Robinson Crusoe as a maker lies at the very centre of this narrative. The exhibition refers to the example set by Daniel Dafoe’s hero who, initially stuck at an impasse, reaches completion and proves his value when he is forced to act and to find solutions to problems he has never faced before. During the period when a large part of the Benaki Museum’s permanent display of 19th-century material is relocated from the 3rd floor of the Benaki Museum of Greek Culture to the Benaki Museum / Pireos 138 for the anniversary exhibition ‘1821; Before and After’, this contemporary art exhibition ‘occupies’ the galleries and reflects on their transitional stage.
Ηere, craft’s critical dynamic, which relates to the search for authenticity, the rejection of mass production and the reflection on concepts like ‘tradition’, ‘means’ or ‘process’, becomes a medium and a strategic practice for redefining the priorities between the artist, the artwork and the audience. The 36 participating artists present their works inside this overcharged with significance space by paraphrasing, using and upsetting the museum’s construction, the representation of history and the viewing conditions of the artwork. The exhibition thus explores the relations between the autonomy of art and the ‘heteronomy’ of everyday life by activating practices from the full spectrum of creativity and interpretive concepts like work, performance, functionality, production, bricolage and reuse.