European Capitals of CultureΠοιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

In Flux exhibition 2015



  • The exhibition lasted from 1.9 until 9.10.2015
  • Cultural Centre L. Kanellopoulos, Ionos Dragoumi 37, Elefsina 192 00, Greece



           Georgios and Kelly Diapouli in front of the Cultural Centre  29.9.2015             @hf




with little amphitheatre in the garden




The exhibition "In Flux

The group exhibition was curated by Shoair Mavlian who works at Tate Modern. By bringing together European artists of different nationalities, a dialogue was created around issues such as immigration, refugees and eastern – western relations.

The works of Bouillon Group and Ahmet Öğüt explores the complex relationship between East and West in relation to whether a country is an EU member or not.

Thomas Mailaender and Henk Wildshchok will deal with the immigration and refugee issues, demonstrating how they are represented in terms of visual arts throughout the European continent.

The works of Emine Gozde Sevim, Émeric Lhuisset, Sergiy Lebedynskyy and Vlad Krasnoshchok show the crystallization of moments of protest and resistance in major cities during the last few years.

Aikaterini Gegisian analyzes the ways national identities are constructed, as well as how past and present are merged in transitional periods.

Having introduced the artists participating in the exhibition, it should be noted that one basic reason behind their selection links up with the epistemological meaning of the the term 'flux'. Given where the curator comes from, it should be noted that the UK may opt to leave Europe, and thereby alter the European debate dramatically. The term suggests a political state of affairs implying everything appears to be 'uncertain' as to the future of the UK staying in Europe. Three camps are made out in that debate before the referendum; the yes-, the no- and the remaining camp being made of the indecisive ones. How to predict the outcome, asks the Guardian (10.10.2015):

"For all the insurgent energy stirred by Ukip, the Tories won the general election. And yet, the possibility is strong that the era of Tory dominance now under way will be a tale of two unions, both rent asunder: that the United Kingdom will break out of the EU, a move that will in turn break up the United Kingdom. British politics is in such flux, even the future shape of the country is uncertain."

Source: EU referendum: the next big populist wave could sweep Britain out of Europe Jonathan Freedland Friday 9 October 2015


Lifting more than your own weight


Weight lifting is a special sport in Eastern Europe or in Greece. It is a competitive sport at the Olympics and much is done to win a Gold medal. That effort is not far off the mark when suspicion is raised about possible doping. The cases of deceiving the public, the jury and other athletes is something what has put a black strain on the Olympic Games.

Is there perfect love?



Is there really something like a perfect love? The answer lies in the metaphorical use of the coin as being one and the same on both sides. But then money linked to matera, matter, earth etc. has a lot to do with what can be carried in the palm of the hand or in the pocket, and still has some power to influence things. The one gets past the guard, the other does not and the difference is while the one can pay, the other is the weakest of all since he has no money. Yet what is perfection in an imperfect world not because nature or a stone is imperfect but because man creates the illusion of perfection. It is linked to power in a certain artistic sense since then the highest skills are demanded to gloss over all limitations and imperfections, even though Michel Angelo was aware his own sculpture will never be as perfect as the stone he will use to carve his image of a subject matter like Rodin did after him of the thinking man. Reveal, reveal seems to be the urge of man turned from hunter to artist. To make visible the invisible is a part of this revelation but there are other things to tune in. There is after all the bravo of the audience once light shines on a coin and reveals all the power without revealing all the secrets. This then comes close to Eleusina which used to be famous for all the mysteries which were supposed not to be revealed but then the playwright Asychelus did so apparently on stage according to Aristotle. In short, two coins as perfect lovers reveal what is possible under a given power defining the tensions between in the sexes in such a way that everyone is heading in the same direction. That then is in modern times the monotheistic cult with money having become the God, according to poetess Katerina Anghelaki Rooke.


Reflections in the mirror of Images


Greece is a good example of deception as decribed by Canetti. In his book 'Verblendung', meaning blinded by too much light, no one looks anymore at reality but literally past a pillar to see the sun. As a reminder of Lord Byron, deception begins with political Romanticism, but does not end there. Lord Byron left his signature on one of the pillars at Cap Sounion. The temple is devoted to Poseidon as as not to anger the God of the Sea since the Athenians had already devoted the Parthenon to Goddess Athina. So wisdom was accompanied by the knowledge the Gods had to be appeased yet in having more than one God, it meant learning the trick of playing one God out against another God, so as to stay free on Earth. Again this could be called self deception, if everything was based on the belief man could do this to and with the Gods. This might be called rightly so man living his own myth, but done practically by breaking with the past, so as to find a way into the future.

Since there has always been a big muddle when it comes to interpreting the Greek myths about all the Gods. Interestingly enough some literary efforts seem to come closer but also reflect the remoteness from human reality, Hölderlin's Empedocles an example. Likewise poets like Seamus Heaney and Brendan Kennelly adopt Ancient Greek tragic plays to find more contemporary forms of expressions for someone coming close to the fate of Antigone.

However, when looking back at history out of a modern perspective, things appear as having not evolved as much out of one basic concept, and therefore it is impossible to claim a continuity. Even though Melina Mercouri most favorite saying was 'now as then'.

Rather it seems better to enter a historical book as if a room full of mirrors of memories. That means many details are overlooked while images of the Ancient Past tend to overlook the many breakages which happened in-between. In recent times, Greece went through not only dictatorship, Second World War, Civil War, uneasy tension, until the Junta took over power in 1967 an ruled until 1974. It prompted Andreas Papandreou to call it 'Democracy at Gunpoint'.

Thus it can be expected that any Greek city which shall become European Capital of Culture in 2021, will look back over the past 200 years of history given alone this significant date. The emancipation from the Ottoman Empire started back then in 1821, but was incomplete. Ioannina only joined in 1913, and this most relunctantly as the city was cut off from its traditional hinterland. It will be interesting to see how the different candidate cities relate to the official narrative of Greece as a nation which has become free in 1821.

To relate Greece to Europe, it would be important to comprehend the time of Lord Byron and the partiall Greek revolt against the Ottoman Empire. It can be said that two forces dictated the movements within Greece till today: the non violent Constitutionalists and the militant-radical elements. The latter are ready to take up arms and join the military, but also give their support to the ruling elite. In short, the militancy can explain the violence during the Civil War, but also the readiness to accept the military dictatorship. In terms of the Greek crisis which has unfolded since 2009 has seen an extreme Right Wing group called Chrysi Avgi become the third strongest party in Parliament with its leader claiming political responsibilty for the murder of a rapper namey Fysson. Thus this troubled side of Greece should not be blended out as it does matter for not only how governance is understood, but also practiced and which dictates the overall state of affairs.

So it is sheer genius for the artist Aikaterini Gegisian to re-use posters produced by EOT, the Greek tourist organisation, to lure tourists to Greece during the Junta time. Two aspects underline the propaganda at that time: the suggestion coming to Greece means to simply enjoy life under the sun but not to see those who were in prison like the poet Ritsos writing about 'stones, bars and repetitions'. At the same time, the posters by themselves surprise in their aesthetical cleanliness. They can deceive by appealing not only to the senses but more so to a highly suggestive message that the world is only then safe when clean. This message is, of course, a sign of Fascism and Racism. Altogether the posters from that era when the Junta ruled in Athens can be compared with a more recent advertiseent campaign of EOT when posters invited people to come to Greece to live their own myths.

The graphic design used during the Junta time for purpose of advertisement of Greece demonstrates out of a contemporary glance how manipulative use of aesthetics can put aside perception of the reality. By just focusing on the sun, itself the best symbol for not merely a good life during the summer, but also as force of light with the greatest possible capacity to blind people, the artist reveals the danger of being able to manipulate the mind. By putting black tape over the very clean posters not at random, but also a mere configuration of giving an abstract geometric sign, attention is drawn to the then existence of cenorship during that time of dictatorship. It is done in most subtle way.

Consequently alone this exhibit poses the question how Greek citizens view today methods used to make Greece appear to be a highly attractive place for tourists when in fact such a history says in more than one explicit way 'beware'!


In defiance of gravity - the Cathedral cars


What loaded cars depart from Marseille to take back home everything possible from refrigerators to bicycles. The image reminds as well of what Greek 'Gastarbeiter' brought home. It is said if they did not bring with them a television set and a new car, they did not make in Germany. It is quite something else these over loaded cars as they reflect as well the assumptions of having made it in the consumer society. The question is which material things are really important, when other things matter more especially in view of the turmoils in the Middle East?

Marseille 2013 did not really succeed to foster a dialogue between Europe and the Mediterranean countries.


homeland Turkey


The title of this work is 'Delirium Homeland'. It says more than anything about the current state of affairs in Turkey. Alone the bomb last which killed nearly 100 people at a train station in Ankara in Oct. 2015 shows how demonstrations for peace can be transformed simply by two suicide bombers into a night mare. As if people were supposed not to think about peace and demand through their wishes an end to all ugly conflicts, but how to bring about such a peace when muscles are exercised by politicians using armies as extension of their wish to keep a grip on power? Turkey has a stark contradiction to face not only due to its society being a dynamic between Islam and Secular State followers and believers, but also because there is after all Asia Minor. In that land was once Troy, existed classical Greece of Antiquity, known for the body - mind snythesis and home of poets and scholars which transcribed knowledge gained from the mathematicians in Egypt into new founded philosophical principles. Most telling is there the contrast between the Archaeological and Ethnological Museums in Izmir. They are neighbors but the leap from one kind of civilization to another could not be greater. How to explain such a transition? The photo of something having got caught in the overhead wires is both subtle and powerful. The title adds still another dimension: delirium indeed! 


Interestingly enough, and very timely, since negotiations between the European Union and Turkey are going on with regards to the refugee criis, there is shown an exhbtion in Brussels. Some commentaries decribe this as a demontration of oscilliation between euphoria and despair. The exhibition has the title „Anatolia – Home of Eternity.“ Insofar as the Art Festival Europalia portrays Turkey as „cradle of Zivilisation“, it fails to address both the problems of the present and the huge discrepancy between Ancient civilisation with a mother goddess being shown with bare breasts of the 6th century B.C. and what followed then best described as a culture dominated by men. For a discussion of this exhibition, see!5243590/

In search of shelter



The refugee crisis which has started to challenge seriously Europe and its member states in different stages with Lampedusa in Italy or Kos, Lesbos and Samos in Greece bearing the brunt of those fleeing over the Mediterranean the war in Syria and elsewhere is reflected in many different artistic works. The work of Henk Wildschut is as subtle as it is direct since both the image and the title 'shelter' suggest one and the same: an improvise home made out of materials most likely found in the street beside a rubbish bin. Waste material being recycled in this way shows what transition Europe is going through. Although poverty is not new as a literary genre ever since the Clochards made their appearance in Paris and Orwell wrote about the poverty strikken persons in 'Down and OUt in Paris and in London', this kind of impoverishment means something else. It is a life at the edge of bare necessities. It makes also a difference if the refugees arrived during the hot summer months or are caught in torrent rains and cold weather for which not only Northern Europe is famous for. The long term damages to the health by being continuously on the road can only be imagined and anticipated but the real costs of the war means the refugee crisis is no longer a mere side effect of violence having spun completely out of control in what Enzensberger describes as a civil war which resorts as well to a demographic warfare. The displacement of people out of fear means as well there is no longer any institution which safeguards them. Either they succumb to the new power or else they die. Many young refugees cite as one main reason for their flight the wish to avoid being drafted into the army of the IS. So that shelter standing amidst three trees, in silence, with the city at the horizon barely visible underlines as well life at the periphery. It connects well with the original report by Fisher and others, and which Michael D. Higgins likes to quote as being still relevant today, namely "In from the margins".

Ukraine, Russia and Europe -

The East-West Dilemma



The crisis in Eastern Ukraine has hit Europe not unexpectedly. Many critics argue Russia did not wish to be encircled by NATO. Whether or not the taking over of Crimea was  but a first signal for an expansionist course taken by Russia under the Presidency of Putin, no one is sure. Before the crisis in Eastern Ukraine, there was the revolt on the Maydan in Kiev, but even before that there took place the Winter Olympic Games in Russia during which Western leaders shunned any invitation as if the main issue at world level had become a sole concern of Human Rights as defined by the West alone, and this despite as to what has been happening in Afghanistan and Iraq since 911 happened. By now no one is sure what side to take while both sides offer different verions, different tales made again explicit when the Dutch Aviation Safety Board issued its report about the downing of M17 flight over Eastern Ukraine. For Russia denied in being involved despite all the evidence pointing to the fact that a Buk missile was used. So while critics of the Western influence in Ukraine cite the Fascists which are in the government run by a president who represents the rich Oligarchy, the rebels in Eastern Ukraine reveal what it means to have a rogue state which does not abide necessarily to international rules. Thus to make sense of the situation is not easy at all. Most telling and revealing are, therefore, the images which reveal what the two Russians have seen in 2014 when they went to the Maidan Square, and what is extended as a most telling story in simplw words by Emeric Lhuisset.



Hatto Fischer

8.10.2015 up-dated 14.10.2015



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