Monday, April 8, 2013

Feral Remnants - Oinousses

Feral Remnants / Oinousses
Manolis Daskalakis-Lemos

There is a house that is no more a house
Upon a farm that is no more a farm
And in a town that is no more a town.”

(Robert Lee Frost, Directive, 1946)

Feral Remnants/Oinousses is Manolis Daskalakis-Lemos’ first solo show. The series of works presented here examine cases of change or deterioration of a previous state of prosperity and their traces as recorded in the urban landscape, architecture and public sculpture. The motive for this series of works was an observational documentary entitled Grey Gardens (1975) by the Maysles brothers, which follows the routine of the aunt and cousin of Jackie Kennedy Onassis in an old mansion near New York, which had been occupied by plants, while it was internally populated mainly by cats and raccoons.

The show is divided into two main parts, which run in parallel. The first part focuses on pictures of houses and cars captured in the Highland Park and Brush Park areas of Detroit, U.S.A. After the 1967 riots, which emerged as a fight between citizens and the police and were caused mainly by racial differences and after the collapse/relocation of the U.S. auto industry, the city population decreased from almost 2 million to 700 thousand. The retreating population left behind an estimated 33,500 abandoned homes and 91,000 vacant lots. The vines Toxicodendron Radicans (“morning glory”), Ipomoea Tricolor (“poison ivy”) and the tree Ailanthus Altissima, also known as the "ghetto palm" or "tree of heaven" are common in the area, mainly because of the local climate humidity and their resilience in snow and low temperature conditions.

The second part of the show focuses on examples from Greece: An empty neoclassical building in Plaka and Oinousses, a group of islands northeast of Chios, the birthplace of a large number of shipping families, where in the 50s and 60s there was great prosperity mainly due to wealthy families who returned in their place of origin for the summer. The population of Oinousses today does not exceed 500 residents. The artist uses examples that draw from his experience and that he is comfortable to narrate and guides us through the current state of Oinousses, a strange blend of extravagant private villas and traditional island architecture, where all public works and sculptures derive from private donations with interesting results.  [ source

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