Outset Greece supported Nikos Navridis’ latest project as part of the Aeschyleia Festival 2013 in Eleusis, Greece. Titled Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better, the piece is a large scale, open space installation.
The work is located at the Old Olive Factory of Eleusis, a town where the intense spirit of classical antiquity coexists with today’s urban environment and converses with a sense of abandonment. The artist, instead of focusing on the imposing shell of the factory, transforms its surrounding area by filling it with thousands of whispering ears of corn, carefully bedded in earth, excavated and brought in from the neighbouring sanctuary of Demeter, ancient goddess of the harvest.
For the creation of this installation, Nikos Navridis was once again inspired by Samuel Beckett, here by the phrase ‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’ from the prose piece Worstward Ho (1981-2). Illuminated, these words greet the visitor upon entering the installation, and signal its end.
In the words of the artist, the work is ‘a conceptual and sensual journey that investigates the past, and the ways in which it often preordains the present. Eleusis has always been a place with menace hidden away inside – all who visited sought to transcend their human scale here, to break free of fate’.
Both, the installation and its venue pose fundamental questions about the absurdity of human condition. Eleusis was a place with glorious past and profuse natural resources. Today, it faces degradation. Identifying the area with his country, the artist attempts to connect Eleusis with what Greece is going through today, not only socially but collectively and personally: Conveying ‘life’ to a place which once was but now is not, freed from the fear of failure.
Born in Athens in 1958, Nikos Navridis studied Architecture at the National Technical University of Athens and Art at the Athens School of Fine Arts, where he has been teaching since 2008. His work has been exhibited in Greece and internationally. He represented Greece at international art events in Brazil, Mexico, Japan, America and Europe.