A cultural identity for Europe

Two large but completely different exhibitions currently taking place in Thessaloniki are proof of the city’s rich cultural life. «Copyright Europe Exists,» which opens today at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, traces the cultural identity of Europe through contemporary art. Two artists from each of the 15 European Union countries (the new member states are not included) have been selected by the renowned curators Harald Szeemann of Switzerland and Rosa Martinez of Spain. The grouping of artists on display includes some of the most important names in contemporary art: Christian Boltanski, Mona Hatoum, Mariza Merz, Juan Munoz and Maurizio Catelan. The artists representing Greece are Yiannis Kounellis and the much younger Aimilia Papaphilippou. The exhibition is taking place in the context of the fourth annual Forum of Cultural Exchanges (organized by Apollonia and ArtBox/Arts Management in collaboration with the State Museum of Contemporary Art and the Center of Contemporary Art, both in Thessaloniki), a conference which deals with issues of contemporary art and has also developed into a year-round network of artistic exchanges. The Forum brings together artists, curators, museum directors and art critics and is supplemented by various artistic events and exhibitions dispersed throughout the city’s venues; «Paths of Europe» at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the principal exhibitions. The other major exhibition currently taking place in Thessaloniki is «Art and Utopia» which draws on the famed Costakis collection of the Russian avant-garde and is held at the State Museum of Contemporary Art, which also owns the collection. Spanning the period from 1900 to 1930, the exhibition represents the basic movements in the Russian avant-garde, such as suprematism, constructivism, analytical art and cubo-futurism. Works by Kandinsky, Malevich, Tatlin, Rodchenko, Popova, Rozanova, Matiushin, Klivn and El Lissitzky show the Russian avant-garde’s ties with the concept of utopia.

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