Preconference Interdisciplinary – Artistic Symposium: The Human Body and Lived Experience at Times of the Contemporary Crisis through the Prism of Science and Art.
Organized by: International Society for Cultural – Historical and Activity Research (ISCAR) - University of Crete – University of Ioannina (Marios Pourkos)
Session VII: Body, Art, Crisis and Politics / Chair: Constantinos V. Proimos
Maria Marangou, Art Director of CCA, From the Happy Few to the Hordes of the Despised
Constantinos V. Proimos, Ph.D., Adjunct Lecturer at the Hellenic Open University and Art Critic, The Body in Crisis: Qualities and Perils of Friendship Between Romantic Love and Politics, According to Rembrandt.
17 June 2016
House of Culture, Rethymno
From the Happy Few to the hordes of the despised:
The bliss of the last two decades of the twentieth century and the early years of the new millennium nurtured several artists with the vision of the market and thousands of viewers with the thrill of a pleasure which they may not have shared exactly, but which still captured them with its allure.
The great spectacle in art essentially ends, at least for those in the know, with the 11th Documenta of Kassel in 2002, by the African director Okwui Euwezor. It was the first time that art spoke directly through an official institution about unemployment, the massacres in Palestine and Afghanistan, the devastation of populations in Africa, the military regimes and the waves of refugees, while visitors were left speechless when the research and the video of the ATLAS group used the language of art to reveal the phenomenon of —sometimes deliberate— shipwrecks.
In our parts, in 2006 a woman artist installed in Eleusis the actual boats of migrants that the Aegean had washed up on the shores of Chios and listed the names of the drowned, while in 2007 a group of visual artists together with a stage director, a curator and ten Kurdish migrants presented a tableau vivant at Metaxourgio, Athens as a first direct denunciation.
The change in the issues explored by art in Greece essentially comes in a more massive way in late 2010. Till then, a few individual artists explored the ego in the solitary rooms, tackled issues caused by manic depression and the isolation caused by racial or sexual discrimination and observed the globalised culture. So it was in December, and as the city’s Christmas tree was erected at Syntagma, that a group of artists invited some friends and declared from a small flat near Omonia that they could not make art while Athens was burning. That night, the group attempted to build a “monument” to those days with the broken stones from the clashes with the police.
Since then and to this day, individual artists and groups have been acting anywhere in this post-Gramsci, post-Aris, post-Ploumbidis, post-Che era, close to the swarms of the uprooted and in competition with the potent, merciless image of the street.