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Greek Artists’ exhibition
Personal = Political

WHEN: September 11 – October 23
WHERE: Warehouse Β1, Port of Thessaloniki
WHY: “Connect yourself to everything you feel to be honest. Treat everything, even friendship, as a political act. Start here [….]
I am what I am. My body belongs to me. I am me, you are you, and something’s wrong. Mass personalization. Individualization of all conditions – life, work and misery. Diffuse schizophrenia. Rampant depression. Atomization into fine paranoiac particles. Hysterization of contact. The more I want to be me, the more I feel an emptiness. The more I express myself, the more I am drained. The more I run after myself, the more tired I get. We cling to our self like a coveted job title”.
(Anonymous, http://tarnac9.wordpress.com/texts/the-coming-insurrection/ )

Thirty-six Greek artists take a stand, with political works from the 1960s until today, which will be presented in the exhibition entitled “Personal-Political”, to be inaugurated on September 11th, at Warehouse B1, within the framework of the Parallel Programme of the 2nd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, organized by the State Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibition is also included in the programme of the 44th Dimitria.

Given that every crisis, every movement of a person is a link in the chain of their political and social action, the aim of the exhibition concerns the way in which the political dimension and consequence of every personal choice appears through the artists’ work. The way in which the micro-historical view meets the macro-historical one and they are united.

According to the article by Martha Rosler “Well, is the Personal Political?” (Feminism Art Theory, An anthology 1968-2000, ed. Hilary Robinson, Blackwell Publishers Ltd., Oxford, 2001), personal action can be considered political only if it fulfills the following conditions: when the collective action of a society depends on personal, everyday individual issues, when we take the uniqueness of the individual into account and when we realize that the right to control our lives and actions also entails a right to control the progress of society.

Personal daily life as a pretext for all types of artistic creation, the individual elements of human life in all its expressions, constitutes not only a thematic pretence for artistic creation, but also an ideological choice. The exhibition attempts to investigate the different types of personal choices and actions. These actions, which constitute the social and political choices of each person, function directly or indirectly as a mirror of society (for example gender, race, nationality, religion, sexuality, environmental awareness, and attitude-personality). And vice versa, the exhibition aims to constitute an effort to listen to the reality of Greek artistic (and other) reality, as it is being shaped following a series of political and social changes and events, which affect every facet of people's personality and daily life, perhaps simply because it always happens this way in times that are confronted with crises, controversy and impasse.

More specifically, the Art Historians-Curators of the S.M.C.A., jointly entrusted with the exhibition, Areti Leopoulou & Theodore Markoglou, explain: “The intention of this exhibition is to discover where the personal and the political element of each act (which effectively constitute two sides of the same coin) coincide. It is precisely the zone between the personal and the political, the private and the public, where art is created.

The exhibition to be inaugurated on September 11th in Warehouse B1 invites visitors to take initiative, to discover and compare works, open closed doors, to avoid treating the exhibition venue as a white cube, but instead to treat it as a journey through moments in the history of contemporary Greek art. With indicative examples and themes taken from the identity of the contemporary Greek and his/her daily life. Works of art that are very close to one another (not without reason), with clear reference to each other – and in clear contrast to each other.”

The curators also pose the questions “How many bombs and how many Greek flags can hide in an art exhibition, how many protests, how many ideologies, what secrets, personal or political, indicate the way in which the country is evolving socially? The events of last December brought back memories of the Polytechnic drama of 1973. Why is that? Has not much changed since then?”.

The catalogue of the “Personal – Political” exhibition, within the framework of the 2nd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art and included in this year’s “Dimitria”, participating in the collectivity of the central concept of “Praxis”, includes texts by colleagues (art historians, curators, university professors), who, each from his or her own point of view, perceive and express their opinions on politics, art and daily life.

Participating artists: Alexandros Avranas, Dimitris Alithinos, Klitsa Antoniou, Myrto Apostolidou, Babis Venetopoulos, Andreas Vousouras, Maria Zervou, Thodoros, Christina Kalbari, Vlasis Kaniaris, Maria Karavela, Irene Karagiannopoulou, Anneta Capon, Adamantios Kafetzis, Nikos Kessanlis, Charis Kontosfyris, Lillian Lykiardopoulou, Dimitris Merantzas, Dimitris Baboulis, Pavlos Nikolakopoulos, Theofanis Nouskas, Aliki Panagiotopoulou, Leonidas Papadopoulos, Leda Papakonstantinou, Tasos Pavlopoulos, Natasha Poulantza, Despina Stokou, Vasilia Stylianidou, Socrates Socratous, Diamantis Sotiropoulos, Sofia Tsamouti, Kostas Tsolis, Pantelis Chandris, Vasilis Hatzopoulos, Em Kei, Northern Folk Artists.

Curators: Areti Leopoulou & Theodore Markoglou, Art Historians - Curators of the State Museum of Contemporary Art 

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