CULTURE

The world according to Helmut Middendorf

There are plenty of art history references in Helmut Middendorf?s ?Blots and Stains? exhibition, currently on display at the Eleni Koroneou Gallery in Athens. For those in the know, they are easily identifiable and invariably coupled with an unexpected touch of humor. Such as in the case of a slender, yet older Vivienne Westwood, who calls to mind Marcel Duchamp?s celebrated ?Nude Descending a Staircase.?

For the uninitiated, the new series of works by the German artist, who divides his time between Athens and Berlin, comes as a pleasant educational experience. This is especially true in the presence of the artist himself, always willing to share his own footnotes with the public.

The collage technique has defined the artist?s work since the 1980s, as anyone who remembers his ?Over the Under the Over? exhibition at the Benaki Museum?s Pireos Street annex two years ago will attest.

?We are surrounded by a world which is made up of many parts,? said the artist. ?Look at newspapers, for instance. On the one hand you have the news, while on the other, you have advertisements; what you?re really looking at is a collage. The Internet is one huge collage. This is about our life and the way we perceive those around us. It?s no coincidence that the idea of the collage first emerged at the beginning of the 20th century.?

At the Eleni Koroneou Gallery, the exhibition includes large-scale pieces including the artist?s ?Four Seasons.? According to Middendorf, these works are more experimental and have to do with his interest regarding the possibilities of abstraction.

?You just have to play with your luck,? he said. ?Though you can never really predict the exact outcome, there are hardly any surprises given the right experience.?

More works by the artist are currently on display at the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens, part of a group show titled ?The Last Grand Tour.? This exhibition, which will remain at the Museum of Cycladic Art until October, is curated by Tate Modern?s Jessica Morgan.

Eleni Koroneou Gallery, 30 Dimofontos