CULTURE

An elegant new gallery presents contemporary art with great style

Just a block away from the more bustling part of Kolonaki, Haritos Street offers a quieter stroll along its small collection of unusual boutiques and antique shops. A narrow, and rather plain street mostly known for its night bars and home to one of Athens’s most established bistros, Haritos also seems to have gradually earned a distinctive daytime character of commercial exclusivity. Greatly enhancing this sense of exclusivity is millefioriARTspace, a contemporary art gallery with an art shop on the ground floor, which opened a few months ago in an alluringly renovated, neoclassical building. The building itself was one of the incentives for art historian Maria Papaskyrianou to go ahead with opening an art gallery in Athens, a project that she had been pondering for some time since her return from London. It was there that she did her graduate studies on the history of contemporary art, subsequently worked in the contemporary art department of Sotheby’s and was part of the small team that run the Gagosian Gallery’s London branch when it first opened in 2000. Having worked on the shows of such established artists as Vanessa Beecroft, Chris Burden, David Smith and Georg Baselitz, Papaskyrianou wanted to utilize the experience she had gained at Gagosian in her own gallery. One of her main objectives is to collaborate closely with the artists and to curate site-specific exhibitions. Papaskyrianou is also especially attentive to the way the works are displayed. Thinking of the art and the space in which it is shown as a single entity, the idea is that arrangement can help reveal a work’s different conceptual aspects and can create varying visual effects. Currently running its second show since its opening (an exhibition on photographer Alida Mavrogeni), millefioriARTspace will present the work of international and Greek contemporary artists and will host projects by independent curators. A group show by one of London’s White Cube curators is expected for the fall. Although contemporary art is clearly the focus for the gallery, it is conceived of as part of contemporary living and aesthetics. This explains why Papaskyrianou, together with her other two collaborators, jewelry designer Niki Protopappa-Palaiohoriti and architect Rena Marioli who designed the space, decided to open an art shop on the building’s ground floor as well. The items, which are for the most part exclusively sold at millefioriARTspace, range from jewelry to books and furniture. The selection – most of them chosen by Lena Papanikolaou – includes Colette Malouf hair accessories and jewelry, art books, editions of Visionaire, the home collection of fashion designer Matthew Williamson, an unusual selection of Cutler and Gross eyewear, antique Chinese furniture, pashminas from Nepal, and Jean Provocateur lingerie. Embracing all aspects of contemporary aesthetics, millefioriARTspace offers a more relaxed but undiminishedly challenging approach to contemporary art.