A broad selection of contemporary works at Athens’s art fair

Art Athina, the annual Greek art fair, is a constantly growing event that, besides being a commercial fair, has helped bring broader exposure to contemporary Greek art. This year’s art fair, which opens tomorrow evening by invitation only, is being held at the former site of Athens airport off Vouliagmenis Avenue (in the former East Terminal of Athens’s Hellenikon Airport). The premises of the city’s former airport can be taken to symbolize Art Athina’s objective of providing Greek art with international exposure. This has been a constant goal of the Hellenic Art Galleries Association, the institution behind the event. Working toward this goal, Maria Panayides Art Productions, which has organized and produced the art fair, has invited several international curators to visit the Athens event and has also expanded Art Athina to host several parallel events, most of them special presentations and discussions on Greek and international art. As usually happens with peripheral art fairs, Art Athina strives to be something more than just an art fair, turning it into a meeting place not just for gallerists and collectors but also for curators and people in the arts. It is toward this end that each year Art Athina hosts an international exhibition on the contemporary art of one honored country. This year, the focus is on Swiss art, video art in particular. The show is curated by Beatrix Ruf, director of Zurich’s Kunsthalle. Another indication of Art Athina’s growing international scope is the fact that at this year’s event, participating international galleries are almost equal in number to the Greek galleries, whose representation at Art Athina has also increased this year (Breeder, Gazon Rouge and Millefiori art space are this year’s additions). The galleries featured number 71 in total, a figure which shows substantial growth since 1993 when Art Athina first took place with a mere 18 Greek galleries. Considering that the Greek market for contemporary art, although rapidly growing, is still limited, this growth indicates that it is a noteworthy initiative. The events Friday: 4-4.30 p.m.: Screening of «The Making of the Balkan Wars: The Game,» a work by the Personal Cinema group. Panel discussion will follow. 6.15-7.30 p.m.: Screening of the film «The Globalization Tapes» by Vision Machine, followed by a presentation of the work by the artists. Saturday: 5-6.30 p.m.: Presentation of Daniele Buetti’s video in the context of the Swiss contemporary art exhibit. 6.45-7.45 p.m.: A film by Black Audio Film Collective will be presented on the occasion of the exhibit «Britannia Works,» which is currently taking place in Athens. Sunday: 6.30-8 p.m.: Swiss artist Thommen Swann will present the project by the group collectif-fact. Monday: 5.15-6.15 p.m.: Lecture by Nicolas Trembley, a Paris-based independent curator for «Bureau des videos, Paris.» A panel discussion follows. Art Athina 2004. From Friday to May 10. Exhibition hours: 12-9 p.m. Transportation: Blue Buses A3, B3, 155. Metro: Line 2 to Dafni Station and bus No. 155 after that. Entrance fee: 8 euros, 5 euros for artists and students. High school students and children free.

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