CULTURE

Chairs with a twist adorning Herod Atticus Theater park

“Could you please not sit on the chair?» Leda Papaconstantinou had to make that polite remark to at least 10 people looking at her work of art. A participant in Athens by Art, the visual arts program taking place around the city during the Olympics, she displays her work at the small park next to the Herod Atticus Theater. Her contribution consists of five elaborate chairs, set on a transparent marble base lit at night. A lens located on the chairs’s back points to a nearby tree that has a word carved on it. The chairs are perfectly incorporated with the landscape like land art. The area around the Roman theater demands particular respect. Papaconstantinou’s discreet artwork is almost hidden, silent but captivating. It appears to be in total harmony with its surroundings, although the artist made it about two years ago: «I was inspired after watching the branches of a carob tree, a humble yet generous tree, you can even eat from it,» she said. When she found out she would be participating in Athens by Art, she chose the park outside the theater. Her aim was to display the work in a way that would make it look like it was part of the landscape: «I wanted it to relate to nature, not try to impose on it. Ever since all the paths from the Acropolis to Kerameikos were cleared, the beauty of Attica’s landscape has been brought out.» Papaconstantinou has always been interested in the game of interaction. Now, passers-by become acquainted with her work so quickly, they often unintentionally abuse it. They lean on the fragile construction, they attempt to sit on the chairs and disarrange the lenses. «When a work inspires familiarity, it is often subjected to vandalism. The chairs attract attention, people want to touch them and play with them.» She has often experimented with chairs or armchairs: «I think they point out the feeling of absence.»