AUGUST CHALLENGE DAY 26
For the Silly Season I've set myself the challenge of visiting a different art exhibition on every day of the month and blogging about it.
Wednesday 26 August
Exhibition: Myths and Rifts
Place: KK Outlet, Hoxton Square
According to the website of this small gallery in fashionable Hoxton, here are two artists giving their takes on the ghastly Greek financial crisis. One of them undoubtedly delivers on that promise. The other? I’m not sure he hasn’t jumped the freight train with some work that doesn’t quite belong.
To begin with the original drawings of Steffanos Andreadis. These take a look at the Greek Euro in highly original style. Andreadis is not so much a minimalist as a minisculist, who uses the portentous national buildings portrayed on the Greek Euro banknotes as stages on which tiny figures act out simple scenes, perhaps of protest, desperation or terror.
On the €5 they crawl or kneel in supplication; on €10 they queue, as if for bread; the €200 has them pouring out of a huge door as if to escape a fire; and on the €500 two figures seem to be painting political graffiti on a public building while others stroll around carrying briefcases. Another €5 is a little more obvious: the sole figure shown is the Grim Reaper.
Athenians will know what these buildings are, of course, but even without that knowledge, it strikes me as a great idea. The dry satire and its laconic execution are both satisfying as well as suggestive. I can imagine it working as a video animation too.
Most of Alexis Vasilikos’s accompanying photographs do not seem directly related to the crisis as such. They are for the most part affectionate pictures of small street details, and quite painterly. They show, to take a few examples, a Greek grandmother trying out a hula-hoop, a half-seen man using a phone-booth, a curtain billowing out of the window of a traditional village house, a girl in a car wearing a green elephant mask, a dog wearing a patchwork jacket asleep in the sun.
These are all very pleasant and well composed shots by a talented photographer. Collectively I’m not so sure they add up to a particularly informative comment on recent events in the photographer’s homeland.
Just one or two of Vasilikos's images carry a more disturbing charge. In one, a line of what look like goats’ feet, the skin above stripped away from the bone, are propped against a wall. Another is in a different register altogether. It's undoubtedly a political comment, a policeman making an arrest, and looks as if it's been staged for the camera. In it the artist has altered the image by removing the faces of both the officer and his victim in a vision (I suppose) of the dehumanisation of power.