KERATOKAMPOS, CRETE – Eirini Linardaki, visual artist and curator of The island K and the theory of the South, shared the following statement about the project which runs through August 30 at the Viannos Art Gallery "Savas Petrakis" in Keratokampos, Crete. The Viannos Gallery is housed in a restored olive oil mill in Keratokampos, province Viannos. The vision of its founder Savvas Petrakis became a reality in 2008, when the gallery was inaugurated by then-President of Greece Karolos Papoulias.
Linardaki’s statement follows:
In many ways, this art project is an isolated experiment, a group of artists come to Keratokampos, in the heat of the summer, in a small art gallery in the South of the Southest territory of a continent, to create and express themselves in a time of uncertainty for the world’s future.
The gallery is offering time and space to the artists to experiment and project their work in a micro-environment in a time where we are questioning the globalization of art and where we come to consider ourselves lucky to be spending our isolation in a provincial territory. Now, those who are in luck find themselves in scarcely populated areas and not the big urban centers of the art world. And in this relative isolation they are producing new works and they are exchanging ideas with other artists, constructing locally new places and projects.
One would say, is it so important for the artists to survive? Only the art will survive anyway. The last people to die in the Siberian Gulag – because everyone died in the end- were the artists. And all that is left of them are the few works in memory of a humanity that has been wiped out. Because the ideas created the impetus that kept them, a little more, in life; a little more, that is, as long as it takes to imprint an idea.
And this isolation, this feeling of being apart from the society, is the ephemeral place where art is made. We were forced these last months to live cutout from our social life. We were forced to “distance”. But for artists, this isolation is a metaphor of their overall life on the edge of our society through all times. In Keratokampos this summer we are imagining a fiction: a group of humans have grown apart from the rest of the world in this Southern territory. In this small insular society, all of the population is indigenous and creative. They live in a place of mythical creatures that developed locally and they exchange ideas and develop art without a consideration of what is happening outside their time and space. It could be that the rest of the world does not exist, whether it was because of a pandemic, we do not know.
What we do know is that these indigenous people are also a metaphor: a recognition of the distance between our society and the people that do not fit in it. This is the awareness that ideas have a tendency to survive and that creativity is possible, even at the furthest corner of Europe, far from the art capitals of our world.
Now, how does the proximity between the artists, in this relative isolation can be beneficial to anyone? The answer comes probably from the times of The Plague of Athens, when 25% of the city’s population died, but tragedies such as Oedipus Rex by Sophocles or Hippolytus by Euripides managed to be written. And we say managed, because as Ms. Chaireti is pointing out, art has a capacity of surviving. Many of the famous tragedies we know today were written to be played one single afternoon in Athens. And many famous artworks or scores were composed because of a conversation between friends, because of the loss of a loved one, or because some indigestion kept someone awake two hundred years ago.
In many ways, this pandemic has changed time and connections. Suddenly we have time to be still.
In our exhibition you will find a group of artists and friends, in conversation between them, imagining a new world and a new nature. In the photographic work of Mary Chairetaki, Panos Charalampidis, and Stelios Papardelas we see an alternative vision of a world in the common places that we live in, from the Lassithi Plateau of Crete to the United States.
Maro Michalakakos, Vincent Meyrignac, and Vincent Parisot, imagine a different nature, where its animal kingdom and objects are shaping a sensory game of imagination, partially inspired by myths, allegories and “la pensée du Midi – the theory of the South” of Albert Camus. A new installation of the collection of the Art Gallery is joining this dialogue.
Katerina Samara, Melanie Levick-Parkin and other artists create murals locally inspired by the location and their research on the culture of this land.
Stella Chaireti and Panos Ioannidis, in close collaboration, unite us through poetry readings, discussions and interpretations of the Plague of Athens. Eleftheria Komi, improvises a new video work from her time in Keratokampos this summer.
Stella Malliaraki creates an educational workshop that guides us through the works of art in the exhibition and the history of the local archeological sites, in line with the connectivity of the project to the geography of the gallery
Evangelia Orfanoudaki creates an education workshop to introduce to young visitors of the gallery the work of Ioannis Kondylakis and his trajectory through life and the people of our country.