Greek artist chosen for the Venice Biennale

Giorgos Hadjimichalis has been chosen to represent Greece at this year’s Venice Biennale, one of the oldest and most prestigious art events that will open this June in Venice. The official announcement of the decision is still pending. A mere couple of months ago, the Greek Ministry of Culture (the ministry is notoriously belated in organizing its participation in the Biennale) sent a letter to art critics and historians asking them for proposals regarding the Greek contribution to the Venice art show. Eight proposals were submitted and, of those, the Ministry of Culture’s appointed committee chose the one made by art historian Katerina Koskina, the forthcoming Greek commissioner for the Biennale. Hadjimichalis plans to exhibit an installation that he has been working on for the past year. A work still in the making, it will revolve around the idea of a «Hospital.» A conceptual artist with a bent for sprawling installations that often combine sculpture, photographic documentation and video, Hadjimichalis works on subjects related to history, memory and the collective unconscious. In many of his works, Hadjimichalis traces the route taken by a mythical or historical figure and uses archives as well as other kinds of documentation toward this objective. An example is his installation on Oedipus’s journey. The work was presented at the artist’s mid-career retrospective that was held at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, one of the biggest presentations of the artist’s work. Hadjimichalis has also exhibited his work internationally: He took part in the prestigious Kassel Documenta in 1992, in the Venice Biennale on architecture in 1991 and, more recently, he had a solo show at New York’s P.S.1 in 2002. For his forthcoming participation in the Venice Biennale, Hadjimichalis competed against other seven proposals, most of them group or joint presentations: Thanassis Moutsopoulos had proposed artists Giorgos Lazogas, Panos Haralambous and Marios Spiliopoulos. Art historian Sania Papa selected Giorgos Lazongas and Leda Papaconstantinou. Marios Spiliopoulos, Giorgos Tsakiris, Elli Chrysidou were selected by Dorothea Kodeletzidou. Art historian Christina Petrinou picked Nikos Alexiou and Nikos Tranos for her proposal. Art historian Fay Tzanetoulakou proposed Panayiotis Loukas, and Irini Savvani chose Antonis Panagopoulos. Four artists: Dimitris Xonoglou, Yiannis Fokas, Angelos Papadimitriou and Takis Zerdevas were Manos Stefanidis’s option.