NEW YORK – The art exhibition, Occupy Project #1, curated by artist and participant Eirini Linardaki, opened at the Consulate General of Greece in New York on February 13. The exhibition includes original works by 28 artists which will “occupy” the offices of the Consulate General for three months.
Linardaki spoke with The National Herald about the project on opening night and noted that the idea came to her a year ago and she called the Consulate General’s Cultural Attache and Public Affairs Officer Evelyn Kanellea. Receiving a positive response from her and then from the Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras, Linardaki then began the process of selecting the artists whose work reflected connections to Greece through Greek themes including elements from Greek art, philosophy, and mythology.
She noted that in many conversations with artists from various backgrounds, she often heard about their finding inspiration in Greece. Linardaki mentioned one French artist who was inspired by the myth of Marsyas though Linardaki herself was not familiar with the details of the myth, she found it fascinating how the myth transcends borders and inspires artists wherever they create their works.
Linardaki also pointed out that the idea of “occupying” the Consulate stems from her belief that art should be everywhere and enjoyed by everyone, not just a few people in the confines of an art museum, but even in offices where people are working on a daily basis.
The artists participating in Occupy Project are: Fanny Allié, Blanka Amezkua, Bill Pangburn, Jean-Baptiste Bernadet, John Bowman, hd.kepler., Daniela Kostova, Tim D’Agostino, Leïla Dubus, Cedrick Eymenier, Julien Gardair, Shani Ha, Zafeiris Haitidis, Melanie Levick-Parkin, Eirini Linardaki, Natalia Lopez, Renee Magnanti, Brendan O’Neill, Vincent Parisot, François-Thibaut Pencenat, Abraham Poincheval, Clément Rodzielski, Jason Rosenberg, Ann Shostrom, Song Xin, Tamas Veszi, Melanie Vote, and Dorota Walentynowicz.
The artists worked for more than six months in collaboration with the Consulate and the resulting artworks were installed in the workspaces.
“Through this form of occupation, we aim to question the nature of the presence and role of art in a workplace focused on public service and administered by personnel who represent Greek culture,” Linardaki noted.
The dynamic works in a variety of media made a strong impression on all those present at the opening. The thought-provoking works and installations displayed in some surprising locations in the offices offered a wonderful array of insights into how the artists, among them Greek, French, and Americans, could transform an office space through their particular vision and artistry.
TNH’s photographer Zafeiris Haitidis, a gifted director and filmmaker in his own right, also participated in the exhibition with his photo and video installation titled “Absent” which offers views of Athens, the popular tourist destination, contrasted with the protests during the crisis. He told TNH that he used 50 hours of footage for the installation.
Consul General Konstantinos Koutras gave the welcoming remarks at the event and noted how the exhibition came about from Linardaki’s idea. He also thanked the representatives from the French Embassy and added that the collaboration with the French Embassy will continue with upcoming events and exhibitions.
The opening night also included a special program of micro-events in the Consulate offices. Poetry readings curated by and with Effie Pasagiannis, William Considine, and George Wallace; Performance, Stargazer by hd.kepler; and a music program, From Smyrna to New York by Rafaela Lopez.
The project is organized with the Greek Consulate General in New York with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the USA.
The artworks will be on view through May 13.