New Monuments at Callirrhoe / Athens

New Monuments

Iván Argote, Anastasia Douka, Iman Issa, Regina
José Galindo, Latent Community, Rallou Panagiotou, Prinz Gholam, Hans Schabus,
Socratis Socratous, Kostis Velonis, Lois Weinberger

Curated by Eleni Riga and Olympia Tzortzi

30.09. – 04.12.2021

Callirrhoe
Kallirois 122
11741 Athens
Greece

Images courtesy the artists and Callirrhoe
Photos: ©️Alexandra Masmanidi

New Monuments, as an ongoing research, is taking shape through
a dynamic dialogue that originated from a common acknowledgment: there is a
significant gap in representation in the public sphere. It is inconceivable to
experience this lack of representation in the public space where you act and
contribute daily. 
 

Whether we are the benefactor or the subject of
othering, the modern narrative of history does not include a vital part of the
stories that need to be remembered, reissued and acknowledged.  Since our
knowledge is always situated, in our case we can observe the tension between
old and new forms of inscription of collective memory, between figurative
sculptures – the form par excellence for the inscription of memory in the
western world – and performative works, where the bodies are constantly
escaping monumentalisation. Can the same tools be utilised to build new
narrations or should we totally reject the given methods in order to move forward?
Τo whom do these tools belong, anyway? Can we imagine a symbiosis between
old and new monuments?
 

In Anticipation, Iván Argote constructs an
official atmosphere for the removal of the monument of Joseph Gallieni,
marshal and architect of forced labor and slavery in the French colonies. Although
Argote does not physically take the monument down, he digitally removes it
using advanced technology. Nevertheless, the rumor of the removal was enough to
spark controversy in French society. The title Anticipation demonstrates
the belief that this is ´a future which has not yet been´.
 

Anastasia Douka has remodelled the
statue of Dimitris Mitropoulos at the Athens Conservatory. Through Béatrice (Dimitris Mitropoulos, 1961,
Thanassis Apartis,
Αthens
Conseravtoire)
– a
green-blue paper mould – Douka expresses her admiration for Mitropoulos’
disposition to deviate from the musical establishment to his public position in
terms of his sexual preferences, as well as his death
on the podium
during rehearsal.

 

Iman Issa explores the lack of meaning in public monuments and how
political regimes manipulate their symbolism through
ten installations under the title
of Material. Each work refers to a
real monument, known to the artist. None of the monuments are named. The
objects are the result of the deconstruction of the monument in question and
her accompanying text describes it. Part of the exhibition is one installation
titled
Material for a
sculpture commemorating the life of a soldier who died defending his nation
against intruding enemies.
 

The performative piece Aparición by Regina José Galindo
draws attention to a distressing statistic of femicide: one woman is
killed every three days in Germany. Every third day this statistic is
embodied by an anonymous female that appears unexpectedly in a public
space as a living memorial to the murdered women. The veil, the ultimum
abstraction of the human figure, emphasises women’s struggles.
 

The non-fiction video Otranto by Latent Community focuses
on the shipwreck of the Albanian ship Katër i Radës in 1997 by the
Italian Navy’s warship Sibilla where 81 people were killed. While the
trial is still pending, the ship is exhibited as a public artwork by
a Greek sculptor in Italy without any of the above information. A woman,
the wife and mother of one of the victims, reads the tragic list of the dead.
The time-based monument follows a performative approach where the body
participates in the transmission of memory.
 

In her sculptural topologies,
which are composed of fragments of built and natural surroundings, dismantled
objects of daily use and traces of gestures, Rallou Panagiotou examines modes
of representation, behaviour and self-expression within the constantly changing
ideas of leisure and luxury. Her work reveals the historical and genealogical
properties of these fragments and explores connections, differences and
tensions between locations that differ in time and geography.
 

In the forefront of a photographic
work by Prinz Gholam they conduct a continuous
corporeal investigation on dominance, loss and assimilation,
drawing from their own experiences of coming from different cultures.
Behind them we observe two old monuments: the Porta San Paolo and the
Pyramid of Cestius in Rome. Prinz Gholam have appropriated the
mask, a cultural artifact and highly ritualized object recontextualised in the
era of COVID-19.

Hans Schabus,
using objects that recall familiar items from everyday life
, charges materials with certain meanings they were not supposed to have, twisting them away
from their original
use and substance. His sculptural material, in addition to its surroundings
and context, is further enriched by movement. The
cast aluminium sculpture presented here outlines an absent person.
 

Socratis Socratous acts as a
manufacturer of objects with an instinctive relationship to materials,
exploring the urban landscape by connecting an anthropocentric point of view,
the architecture and the sculpture. His work
Φ 6.55 is an urban sculpture simultaneously reflecting  time, ornamentation and utility value, as
well as acting as a survival kit.
 

Kostis Velonis’ chair model was based on a platform
chair in Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, London, an area where open-air public
speaking and debate take place.
His works are focused on an anthropocentric narrative with
allegories of the everyday life of the public forum; they contain a framework
for how power can be overthrown.

Culture as nature: PVC bags filled
with soil in which seeds scattered by the wind and animals find a new home.
Lois Weinberger and his Portable Garden
emphasises that seeds do not know borders and establishes a connection to the
lives of immigrants, who often use these types of plastic bags to carry all
their belongings.
These  “containers” function as an act of
remembrance.