The Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete participated in the “Re-culture 2” International Art Festival of Patras with the exhibition “Fear”, featuring works from its permanent Collection.
The main axis was the exhibition “Children’s fear”, hosted recently at the Museum with works by Stella Driyannaki, Christos Kotsoulas (Capten), Chryssoula Skepetzi, Angelos Skourtis; the Patras show features additional paintings, sculptures, video installations and photography by another 21 artists: Nikos Alexiou, Eugenia Apostolou, Andreas Voussouras, Celia Daskopoulou, Chris Doulgeris, Eleni Zouni, Popi Krouska, Yorgos Kypris, Maria Loizidou, Eleni Michailou, Constantina Balona, Christos Bokoros, Tonia Nikolaidi, Dimitris Dokatzis, Angelos Papadimitriou, Maria Papadimitriou, Nina Pappa, Raymondos, Stelios Skopelitis, Panos Famelis, Yorgos Hatzimichalis.
Maria Marangou, Art Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete, notes:
“…if the fear of the artist is the doubt about his own work and the possible clash and comparison with the masterpiece, the fear of ordinary people is that of survival. Two extreme examples linked to an endless chain of fears and states of compulsion, death, violence and the unexpected.
The main body of the show, with works from the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete referring to children’s fears, is complemented by works about a deeper state of fear that follows man all the way to old age. There is no point in expanding upon the major figures of psychoanalysis and their findings around fear and children’s fear.
It was fear that art sought to manage from its historical outset, leaving works either as violent traces carved on rock to exorcise evil or as altars and temples built against the awe of the divine.
The fragmented figures of 20th-century art, the faces of Van Gogh, the figures of Bacon, the bodies of Freud seek their truth in a violent way, to the point of —happily— losing the temper demanded of a work from the realm of maestria and by the conventions of an art meant to decorate walls. You see, we have gone through two World Wars and revolutions for the sake of abolishing fear, and people have been emigrating towards a better life free of fear.
Now the 21st century seems to make us realise the threat and the fear of the unchecked geopolitical dominance of some powerful entities whose exact nature remains unclear: is it people, corporations, banks, the destruction of the planet, economic war?
In organising the exhibition “Children’s fear”, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete wished to approach the matter starting from a school setting as the source of the fear of violence felt by a child—the emotional trauma from verbal abuse, the fear of rejection or punishment.
The show comprised the works of four artists who delved on this very issue. The work “Wounded Children, Knifed Paintings” of Angelos Skourtis is about some artworks vandalised by a group of very young people who attacked them in an outdoor exhibition. The artist took them in and tired to save them with a doctor’s care, not as artworks but for the sake of the ideology and the semiology they reflect.
In the installation of Chryssoula Skepetzi the children’s shoes are shut in a cage, and only one of her childish drawings out in a state of freedom. As both artist and academic, she brings in the show a stack of books with very old minutes from the meetings of the School of Education.
The childish dream of Christos Kotsoulas (Capten) contains the fear of the world of grownups. The bogey that terrifies the child, says the artist, is perhaps death itself—man’s greatest fear as well as the measure of time. The artist makes a giant cap, the realisation of the child’s dream which goes hand-in-hand with the growing fear of loss.
The work of Stella Driyannaki refers directly to children’s fear. The oldest school of Rethymnon, in the very heart of the old city, has few Greek children and hundreds of immigrant’s children these days. The artist photographs and then paints their little faces in her work “The evil little refugee child”; it is the only one who is afraid, as he usually gets unpleasant stares and suspicion, while certain good “Christians” probably don"t give him food in their soup kitchen for Greeks.
The exhibition featured also works which encompass fear, such as the slaughterhouses of Stelios Skopelitis, the portraits of Asia-Minor people by Yorgos Hatzimichalis, the portraits of terrified women by Dina Balona and Eleni Michailou, the existential fear reflected in the gesture of Eugenia Apostolou, the cell of Dimitris Dokatzis and the measuring of time in Nina Pappa; the psychological violence in the works of Eleni Zouni; the fear of death is evident in the works of Andreas Voussouras, Yorgos Kypris, Maria Loizidou, Christos Bokoros, Celia Daskopoulou; or the fear of environmental destruction in the works of Tonia Nikolaidi. Other works depict the divine, like the Dervish dance of Maria Papadimitriou or the Monasteries of Nikos Alexiou and the Angel of Raymondos. Angelos Papadimitriou presents a sarcastic fear of the invader. Also featured are a video by Popi Krouska based on a television image from the bombings in Iraq, the photos and videos of Chris Doulgeris on the question of fear, and the work of Panos Famelis.
Overall, the content of the show sums up our feeling towards the fear, real or otherwise, at a time of new migration and impoverishment in a part of southern Europe which cannot exorcise fear with any hope for a happy ending.
The exhibition opened on Sunday, September 1 at the Skagiopoulion Foundation in Patras and run through the end of October 2013.