Tuesday, May 7, 2013

One meter, Collective Autobiography

Collective Autobiography
Maria Loizidou

07/03/2013 - 10/04/2013

The National Museum of Contemporary Art presents from the new installation Collective Autobiography by Maria Loizidou in the Project Room. Her monograph Collective Autobiography (Peak Publishing) will also be presented on the opening night at 20.00 by the Professor of Psychology, University of Athens, Mr. Klimis Navridis. 

The new installation Collective Autobiography was developed when her monograph was about to be published. Her personal inner view on the whole of her work since 1981 until today was the triggering event for the installation which not by chance bears the same with the book title. Maria Loizidou redevelops an old wardrobe, (220x160x140) of the early 20th century (made of cypress wood), which served the needs of a rural family in a small province.

It is constructed in a way that allows the furniture to be disassembled (and reset to its original form) while offers the option to its internal space to be wide open, in the same way that a garment or even better a glove, keeps the form of its content even when it is turned inside out. This inversion reveals the inner pockets of the furniture where different works, small sculptures, drawings, videos, notebooks and books from the atelier of the artist are displayed unfolding her body of work spanning three decades from 1981 until today.

Collective Autobiography, both the installation and the monograph, refer to the way we perceive the space around us and particularly refer to the interpretations we give to it. For example, a shuttered space can be interpreted as a horrible prison cell or as a protective shell where new ideas are tested, emphasizing on the elements which combine our world and belong in our emotional rather than our empirical sphere.

One meter
Michalis Manousakis
05/12/2012 - 31/03/2013

Inspired by the space and its contemporary dimension, Michalis Manousakis in his exhibit at the National Museum of Contemporary Art creates for the first time an installation staged in situ by the artist himself with toys and other items from his personal collection, which directly or indirectly are related to children and come from the period of the Cretan State, the Balkan Wars, the Asia Minor catastrophe, the Metaxas dictatorship, and the German occupation, as well as the decades of the ’50s and ’60s.

In the evocatively lit hall, with colors that symbolically refer to childhood and to nostalgia, the sequences of photographs and other archival documents, accompanied by the artist's personal texts as parallel narratives that supplement or interpret the image, work together in a single installation as they are transformed from pure collectibles or documents into an artistic narrative, open to interpretations and readings.

Manousakis’s installation culminates in a big showcase like an ark full of Greek, European, Japanese, and American toys of the period 1897-1965, constructed at the height of children (one meter). Although the information that one draws when faced with this unique exhibition of toys on folklore, ethnology, sociology, etc. is indisputable, at the same time the unsystematic or unindexed juxtaposition of toys at the end of the narrative, and especially their confinement in what the artist calls an ark, requires different types of approaches. An ark to rescue dreams, an ark to stimulate a lost childhood, a cry in a time of crisis and ferocity, Manousakis’s ark calls forth familiar experiences and memories in everybody from a childhood that is selfless, delightful, full of intensity and momentum and simultaneously invites one to a process of introspection, redefinition, and resistance, a necessary condition for survival and a last attempt to escape from contemporary dead-end reality.
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