An ‘experimental’ exhibition

These days, those who visit Greece’s major museums, such as the National Archaeological Museum, the Byzantine Museum, the Benaki Museum and the Museum of Cycladic Art, will definitely be impressed with the exhibitions currently on display. If, however, they see the exhibition «New Acropolis Museum – Creating its Exhibition Style» on display in the Weiler building, they may feel disappointed. The exhibition only consists of 34 exhibits, arranged in one hall. Visitors should be prepared, for as the head of the Organization for the Construction of the New Acropolis Museum pointed out recently, it is an «experiment.» Since the New Acropolis Museum is not yet ready (it has now been scheduled for 2006), this exhibition has been set up to prepare audiences for the future. The Weiler building’s neoclassical features heavily contradict the modern design of the entrance, which is reminiscent of stores or clubs. Various Bernard Tschumi sketches can be seen on the black walls, while the title «New Acropolis Museum» is repeated on the floor. On the right, visitors can see a model of the new museum with its design up on a screen, while on the left there is a copy of a caryatid. «The issue is how to handle contemporary visitors and how they will receive the message of the classical sculptures,» said exhibition coordinator Dimitris Padermalis during a guided tour, before adding that modern visitors «have a different outlook from visitors a century ago.» Natural light and glass are predominant in the exhibition, which was designed by Eleni Spartsi; the sculptures are not on marble or concrete bases. Padermalis, in the guided tour conducted with ephor Alkistis Horemi, explained that they have tried to construct bases of transparent glass on which to place the sculptures. The visitor’s gaze «slips past the glass surface and is led to the original work, which is lit from different angles and hence acquires three-dimensional value in both its form and details.» Even the explanatory placards are different, as most are situated on the floor, in front of the exhibit. Ninety percent of the items, which include ceramics, an Archaic statue of a kore, marble heads, a red-figure vase and others, are on display for the first time. The exhibition gives a small taste of the exhibition style of the new museum, which has been freed from legal complications. «There is still a long way to go for the final result,» said Padermalis.

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