‘Myths can be interpreted as the narrative manifestation of abstract codes, fundamental patterns of thought’ (Matthew Clark, Exploring Greek Myth, 2012)
“Common myths” is an exhibition that examines the concept of myth, initiating from the work of 20th c. theorists as Claude Lévi-Strauss, Lucian Blaga and Roland Barthes, in order to research through art the common conceptual ground of intangible forms of collective expression, as the anonymous co-creation, the collective imaginary and the multiplicity in improvisational re-creation.
“Common Myths” presents contemporary art and research that places myth at the core of an interdisciplinary exploration. The exhibition examines concepts as the re-interpretation, re-creation and re-enactment of cultural legacies, intangible forms of representation, transient community memory, narrative forms of affective/aesthetic states, epistemologies of mythical thought, collective ceremonial economies, contemporary rituals and urban narratives.
Read the full curatorial text here
Presented artworks and artists
1. Poly Kasda
Twixt cup and lip, 2018
Installation, printed digital images
The West Balkan Peninsula is undergoing a transitional state of self-restructuring that raises issues of regional connectivity and integration; a convergence challenge largely shaped by its geoplassic peculiarities, formulated in its irrational and yet persisting dogmatic formulas and legends. In a rudimentary attempt to raise mythical awareness and get emotional proximity to this unexplored “virtual space of spectrality” (Derrida), I started surfing on the Balkan legendary irrational conceptual spaces, leaving behind me a long panegyrikon trail of playful doodles based on myths, archetypes and traditions of the Balkan Peninsula, encountering figures such as the Dreg of the demon Darian from Albania, the bull Tur from Bosnia who carries the land balancing a fish, and the Rtanj pyramid from Serbia which hides a spaceship.
PolyXene (Poly) Kasda was born in Egypt and studied Fine Arts at the Hermann Besancon workshop in Alexandria, Physics and Chemistry in American University in Cairo and Psychology – Sociology in Athens. In her long artistic and writing career she has been consistently occupied with the concept of myth, of intangible and of perception in art, experimenting with forms of improvisational co-creation through the term Social Action Generative Art (SAGA). She is an international multi-awarded artist. Her book “The Conscious Eye: Art-Perception-Informatics” (1986) marks the beginning of the art theory and artificial intelligence discourse in Greece.
2. Ilir Kaso
I am the river, 2013
Video (8’ 38’’), projection with sound
I am the river” brings the news as a manifesto in a poetic way, combining anthropology with art and protest, and protecting nature by combining the intangible cultural heritage and the values of the community. The recording of the videos was done following the Aoos-Vizosa River’s natural flow, at the Greek-Albanian border, passing through villages where the community has lived for many years, sharing their culture and language.
Ilir Kasso was born in 1982 in Albania and is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Tirana. He is a multimedia artist, who creates his own visual and conceptual vocabulary through his focus on art, anthropology and activism. For him, the endoscopic experience of creation is his way of work but also his subject. Having a wealth of holdings in his assets, he currently lives and works as a lecturer at the University of Arts in Tirana.
3. The Ground Tour Project (Enrico Tomassini, Klelija Zhivkovikj, Agnese Tomassini)
Some Call Them Balkans, 2017-2018
Print installation – workshop
The Ground Tour is a project that promotes a proactive way of travelling by critically exploring various places and their social discourses. We are a transdisciplinary collective from different parts of Europe with the desire to connect those who want to reflect and react upon the current conditions of global mobility, and propel new collaborations with them.
Through artistic strategies and applied research methods we actively challenge the constructed narratives that tell us we should be divided in relation to our cultures and countries of origin. Our ethos is to travel in order to create spaces of encounter that transgress the borders of nationalism, where the diverse interactions between people and their environments can envision other forms of belonging. Upon these transnational stages we find ways for coexistence and collective knowledge production. It is here where notions of identity have a place for discussion and contestation; where differences can collide and produce alternative narrations of realities.
Enrico Tomassini studied architecture at the University of Florence, Social Design- Arts as Urban Innovation at the University of Applied Arts of Vienna and Documentary movie making in Cuba. He has worked with organizations and teams that perform projects of various kinds. Today, as a member of Project Ground Tour, he is interested in exploring the places where reality and imagination collide, differences are mixed and create a new future. Often in the form of a hybrid production they are interested in open artistic processes where art emerges from a dialogue driven by different media.
Klelija Zhivkovikj is a social designer based in Skopje, FYROM. Her work focuses on the commons through exploring personal experiences and curiosity as the smallest scale of civic engagement. She focuses on the Balkans at present, but aims to grow her approach into one that can be applied in other context as well.
Agnese Tomassini is a social scientist based in Florence, Italy. She has a bachelor in International Studies and a master degree in Human Geography and Planning. Among other things, she is now working at the development of the Ground Tour Project. Her previous experiences as proposal writer, researcher, project manager, trainer, and radio-journalist, as well as her passion for (embodied) arts converge into this project.
4. Argyris Zachos
Jean D’ Arc: A 3D Narration, 2016
Hologram, 3D narration
Experimental film – installation, created with the optical pyramid hologram technique combined with the ambisonics technology that allows the 360 degree sound design around the listener. A theatrical monologue, dedicated to the life and death of Joan of Lorraine, a narrative between myth and reality based on documented oral history and fiction narratives. The installation is projected to the viewer in the form of a hologram framed by sounds, giving the impression that voices arrive from different points within space.
Born in 1989 and raised in Thessaloniki. In 2010 he entered third in the Department of Audiovisual Arts of the Ionian University of Corfu. During his professional development, he participated in the filming of the Durrells television series. In his attempt to combine his professional experience with academic research in the field of Holographic Displays, he produced the “Jean D’ Arc, A 3D Narration” project. Today he lives and works in Athens.
5. Konstantinos Angelou
Lost Messages, 2018
Social sculpture in public space
The “Lost Messages” project is a collaborative work of installation sculpture and new media In public space that activates the local community as a community art – living lab. It is a new kind of participatory, outdoor urban social sculpture that links ancient cultural heritage with modern art. The work consists of hundreds of small-scale ceramic human forms, each with unique features and attitudes that have been created collectively.
Graduate of the School of Physical Education and Sport Science and later a distinguished graduate of the Athens School of Fine Arts. He attended painting, sculpture and digital art courses and dealt with industrial design. With his artistic active action and award-winning works, his artistic interest focuses on ways to create the human identity.
6. Ilias Toliadis
Travelling Talismans, 2018
blackboard, paper, wooden stools installation – workshop
Where to sit down to share our stories? Travelling talismans offer paths for reflection on the roots themselves. They provide a kind of familiar shelter through which to examine the unfamiliar. The stool acts as a storyboard platform and provides the knowledge of transforming a material into something else. The American writer, art critic, activist and curator Lucy Lippard in her book “Overlay” claims that “images and activities borrowed from ancient or foreign cultures are useful as talismans for self-development, as containers”(1995, 160) , why not borrowing some from your own past as well for the same reason? Nicolas Bourriaud in his Altermodern artistic practice (2009, 12) used a term that “has its roots in the idea of ‘otherness’, suggesting multiple possibilities and alternatives to a single root”. In this way, roots themselves become crucial, not for the linear experiences, culture, or origins they are meant to signify, but for their capacity to route difference.
Ilias Toliadis was born in the mountain village of Damaskinia. He is a graduate of the School of Fine Arts of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki Greece with a Master of Fine Arts at the University of East London in UK. Later on, in the OCAD University and IAMD program in Toronto Canada , he wrote his thesis “Travelling Talismans”, accompanying an installation of wooden stools, drawings and collage-paintings, attempting to relate the struggle of migrants artists to integrate into new environments.
7. Lala Raščić, Andreja Duganđžić, Jelena Petrović
The Greek myth of Arachne (spider) is redefined in a poetic script, making a leap from antiquity to science fiction. The ideas of oppressed ancient female knowledge and power are addressed by the history of local urban myths, customs and current sociological, ecological and cultural phenomena. Reacting to the EU-0 production site: Kosovo, the newest national state of Europe, explores the idea of transition through the idea of genesis, transformation, metamorphosis.
Lala Raščić is a media and performance artist using the strategy of enactment to deliver narratives that include verbal video performances, performative installation environments, video projections, objects, light, drawing, and painting. Her interests are rooted in the modes of performing text, reflected by her interest in ancient and contemporary storytelling practices, oral histories, and the art of the monodrama.
Andreja Dugandžić is a multimedia artist and researcher from Sarajevo. She studied Social Sciences and completed her Master’s Degree in Democracy and Human Rights and until today she has worked with numerous artists and curators. She is also actively involved in the promotion of women’s rights and feminism as a cultural worker, producer, multimedia artist and activist. In her art she moves between performance, poetry, sound and collage.
Jelena Petrović is a feminist scholar, cultural theorist and art-worker. She completed her BA degree at the Faculty of Philology of the University of Belgrade in Serbia and her PhD studies at the Institutum Studiorum Humanitatis of Ljubljana. She is (co)author of many articles, event and cross-disciplinary projects related to post/Yugoslav issues. At the moment, she is teaching about feminist curating and contemporary art practices at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana.
8. Laboratory of New Media in Fine Arts, Aristotetle University of Thessaloniki (Georgios Katsangelos, Athanasios Pallas, Stelios Dexis, Haralampos Venetopoulos, Yiorgos Drosos)
Urban mythologies of an industrial era, 2018
Video art and sound
A project of the Laboratory of New Media in Fine Arts, Aristotetle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, proposing an artistic manipulation of the urban and industrial landscape in today’s world, projecting the personal experiences of artists and their perception of important issues that are partly shaped by the environment. The space is used as a vehicle for depositing the personal mythology of the artists and their personal reflection about the great social issues. The exhibition is made up of visual arts / environments using digital media (video art and sound).
Georgios Katsangelos is a Professor at the Department of Fine Arts and Applied Arts at the School of Fine Arts of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He studied photography with a scholarship in New York with Professor Walter Rosenblum. He served as Director of the Thessaloniki Museum of Cinematography and as Dean of the School of Fine Arts of Thessaloniki. He exhibits his work widely in the US and Europe.
9. Kostis Emmanouilidis
Installation, video mapping, art box
The ancient Greeks believed that the “basil bud” could infect every living or inanimate object, especially those who stood out for their physical beauty or had generally superior qualifications and qualities. The ancient Greek word “vaskania” derives from the verb “vaskeno” which meant initially “malign, envy, slander”. As time went by, the word had other concepts, such as that of causing evil to someone, or a peculiar type of influence or magical energy of sight. It has also prevailed with the name “matiasma”, from “mati”, which is thought to be the cause of the damage. The wooden “enclosure”- installation through video mapping creates a ritualistic condition to the viewer: it tries to deform and manipulate the various states of a person feeling affected, emphasizing the impact or decomposing the initial state of the mind. The person with strong belief and acceptance of the “evil eye” is misled and finds itself reacting in an unnatural way.
Kostis Emmanoulidis was born in Ioannina city in 1971. He studied Mechanical Engineering in the National Technical University of Greece (NTUA). His parallel artistic endeavors are focused in video art, video mapping and conceptual photography. His video mapping installations appeared in Photometria Festival, Soundtrope Festival, Vovousa Festival as well as in various theatrical plays and performances.