Monday, 17 September 2007
DISCO COPPERTONE IN ATHENS!
Aleksandra MIr's greek souvenir T-shirts and mugs on sale at Heaven on Earth
Passport Control booths with Olaf Nicolai’s wallpaper rainbow posters
Nikos Alexiou’s "Table-cloth" curtain and Ian Kiaer golden ball
Mario Garcia Torres slide show on Martin Kippenberger’s MOMAS
Christodoulos Panayiotou’s "Utopian Songs" video
One of Carolina Caycedo's flags
Miss Caycedo in front of Passport Control
Pablo Leon de la Barra and Carolina Caycedo
Opening 07.09.2007, 19:00
Megaron OLP, Akti Miaouli 10, Piraeus
From 07.09.2007 to 12.10.2007
Disco Coppertone: beach bars, sand in your ears, cicadas, the taste of salt on your skin, a good long siesta, a stroll through a sunlit museum, a trip by sea watching a port appear slowly in the horizon, a different sense of time. The associations are endless as most people reminisce their holidays or hope once again to break away from their daily routine, to come closer to nature and to take time off.
Tourism is a booming industry, providing a setting for people to live out their fantasies and escape. In reality it provides little in terms of a break from the norm, simply allowing people to consume and purchase another life style for a few days a year. Holiday destinations and indeed whole countries re-brand themselves in a saturated and competitive economy. Tourism is no longer necessarily about difference but instead a provider of the same, albeit with a slightly altered flavor. Hotel complexes and indeed whole cities are born, taking over more and more space, serving up what is desired rather than providing what already exists. Brochures and holiday planners direct your vision of what is worth seeing. Tourists’ insatiable gazes consume places and people, leaving behind a series of snap shots of flattened experiences. Nature is no longer left as it is - instead it is framed and contextualized within the preconceptions of a given culture, often to the sound of happy music.
Aleksandra Mir’s mass manufactured t-shirts, mugs and linen bags work as souvenirs of the exhibition whilst playing with ideas of authenticity. Souvenirs tend to symbolize an ‘authentic experience’, which tourists take home with them in an attempt to cling on to that feeling of difference and exoticism that holidays provide. Aleksandra Mir’s designs approximate the classical designs of other more standard souvenirs and yet there is something different, more awkward or even more stylized (reminiscent of Uderzo’s designs for Asterix at the Olympics) pushing the links to authenticity to an extreme.
Nikos Alexiou’s textured wall hanging made out of table cloths -of the kind found in taverns all over Greece- dyed in different shades of blue, recall the colours found all over the Aegean, the never ending blue sky and sea. Simultaneously the work reflects the patterns found within the closed space of the departure lounge revealing the repetitiveness of nature even in the most artificial of places.
Christodoulos Panayiotou’s performance, “To Be Willing to March into Hell for a Heavenly Cause” forms part of his ongoing interest in American musicals produced during the cold war which use songs based on the weather to imply and propose a better and more prosperous future. The documentation of a performance of seven of these “Utopian Songs” by a young and handsome Danish singer on board a ship travelling through the Aegean reveal a world in transit living permanently in hope for a better day.
Olaf Nicolai’s posters infiltrate the generic architecture of the cruise ship departure lounge injecting its grey everydayness with bombastic colour. Nicolai’s intervention and use of the seven colours of the rainbow suggest tourisms’ false promises of a different dream like state when away from drab reality.
Carolina Caycedo’s trans-national flags suggest a world where nationalities are hybrids, where people from all over the world share a common space or the common culture of tourism where all difference is flattened when in a queue to check in. The flags however also work as a sore reminder of their symbolic power and the tension and fears such hybrids can provoke.
Mario Garcia Torres project suggests a rethinking of previous art practices and how they would function today. He literally steps into Martin Kippenberger’s shoes creating an exhibition in what could today have been the Museum of Modern Art Syros. Like Kippenberger he uses the show as an excuse to create a poster project and a slide show documenting his own personal quest on the island of Syros, whilst questioning who and what directs your vision in a place, in contrast to what in the end there actually is to see.
Ian Kiaer sculpture’s works as a survival balloon, luminous and silver, hinting both holidays as a strategy for survival in fast paced Western life but also similarly as he plays with scale in the sculpture itself to human life, which in its fragility clings on to ideas and hopes, larger than life in order once again to survive.