By Margarita Pournara
The numbers alone are impressive: Ninety city blocks have been transformed into a vast temporary gallery housing 1,500 works of art. ReMap, an art initiative that was launched in 2007 and has been held every two years since, is not just riding out the crisis but, this year at least, appears stronger than ever, with an enthusiastic showing by Greek and foreign artists and a multifaceted program that has established it as a pioneering platform for new and established visual artists to show their work and express their views.
The opening will take place Sunday, with the simultaneous inauguration of 60 exhibitions, special events and projects that will be hosted in the adjoining Athenian neighborhoods of Kerameikos and Metaxourgeio – in abandoned construction lots, basements, lofty neoclassical buildings and 1960s apartment blocks. The action is mainly centered on five streets: Leonidou, Kerameikou, Iasonos, Thermopylon and Agisilaou.
Like ReMap3 in 2011, which saw the attendance figures climb as high as 20,000, the meeting point for visitors is the ReMap4 Info Point, designed by the Mark Office architectural team (Katerina Apostolou, Minna Colakis and Argyro Pouliovali) and located in the courtyard of an old residence on Avdi Square at 2 Giatrakou Street. There, the organizers have erected a special installation made of recycled construction materials – wooden planks, cement bricks, factory lamps and cables – which have been recast in a new role to convey the look of an old Athenian courtyard that serves as a stage for private life.
For visitors to ReMap4, this is the best place to start a tour of the exhibitions.
What is there to see? Twenty-three local and international galleries are showing work, from the homegrown Kalfayan, Breeder and Rebecca Camhi galleries, to Rodeo from Istanbul and the Gagosian. There are also 34 separate art projects scattered around the premises of the event focused on combining Greek themes with international art trends.
This year’s ReMap also includes the participation of the Museum of Cycladic and Ancient Greek Art, the DESTE Foundation of Contemporary Art, the NEON nonprofit group for culture and Kunsthalle Athena, which is based in the area.
Until September 30, when the event closes, there will also be a plethora of sideline events to look forward to.
“I think that both the artists and the public recognize the dynamism and consistency of the event,” Iasson Tsakonas, the man who created ReMap, told Kathimerini. “It is a project that is spread out over one part of the city and that has its own character, going beyond the four white walls of museums and galleries.
“Foreign artists and gallery owners attend the event because they like this alternative presentation that is seamlessly integrated in the area and takes advantage of existing structures. ReMap expresses in its own way the angst of this watershed period, for the arts as well,” Tsakonas added.
For more details on the program, log on to remapkm.org/4/.