Daniel Tuomey, Michalis Charalambous, Petter Yxell
Curated by Panos Giannikopoulos within the framework of Snehta Residency
Snehta inaugurates its first public art residency program, Snehta Fokionos Residency, with the exhibition CHANGE NOTHING. The exhibition title seems to work as a cynical imperative. It first comes across as a call to inaction, as a political withdrawal, but the inherent irony urges for the meaning to be reversed.
Its vague signification reflects the general frustration and confusion with the use of public space as the ground to claim change. Contemplating on the idea of public and publicness, it raises questions on the processes of change, stagnation, and most importantly on the desire yearning for change that revivifies the political imagination. The wry intent of the title is anchored in the area where the two-month research of the participants took place, Fokionos Negri in Kypseli. Fokionos, having undergone important changes in its social fabric, bears the projections of the fantasies of past prosperity -with a national and class framing- and exoticizations of the present-day life of the neighbourhood.
With public space getting gradually privatised and the private going hyper-public, a sentiment of exhaustion bewilderment and inaction is prevailing; instead of seeking other ways to reorganise the public body towards a -not yet here-, a less harsh futurity, we hold on to the problematic politics of the past. On the same ground, the use of public space seems to subside as well.
So how does art stand in all this? How does public art get into the game? A walk around the city brings forward very specific public art pieces: male hero statues guarding national identity; monumental visualisations of wet dreams of excellence, success, objectification of the female body.
The exhibition CHANGE NOTHING brings together three artists who address these complex issues of public space through performative actions and interventions. Through displacement and disorientation and using the space of the Municipal Agora, the pedestrian area of Fokionos Negri street, the SNEHTA gallery space and also nearby balconies, they respond to and revisit the involvement of art in the public sphere. Their work, embodying various forms – performance, ceramics, video, sculpture, installation and photography – demonstrates attempts to bring forward the voids and silences but also the poetic absurdities and the erotics of public space. With discreet and playful gestures they are trying to expand the notions of the public sphere and unfold its potentiality, opposing the dominant, the heroic and the monumental. With the support of Outset Greece