Greek artist distinguished at biennale

Artist Lizzie Calliga’s series of works «Swimmers» look like art ultrasounds. Set against a dark background, white dots define the bodies, heads or movements of the swimmers. It is a game played with the intense Mediterranean light which is entirely transformed through Calliga’s lens. It is not surprising that four works in that series received the Alexandria Golden Beacon, the highest distinction at the 23rd Biennale of Alexandria, which is taking place at the Egyptian city through February 28, this year’s theme being «Transparency of Universe… Magic of the Mediterranean.» The event is an important meeting place in which all Mediterranean countries take part – from Libya, Algeria and Morocco to France, Spain and Italy. The award ceremony was recently held at the new Alexandria Library. Calliga, who represented Greece along with artist Nikos Alexiou – and curator Christina Petrinou – spoke to Kathimerini about her participation and the distinction she received. «The Greek stand left excellent impressions, as everyone admitted; something that proves that Greek artists can stand out when they have the proper organizational backing. Apart from the works we presented at the biennale, both Nikos Alexiou and I put on display two installations at Alexandria’s Foundation of Greek Culture, which is housed at the Averoff Girls’ School, with the huge support of director Vassilis Philippatos. The committee, which included important personalities such as Jean-Hubert Martin, director of Dusseldorf’s Contemporary Art Museum, and the director of Berlin’s National Gallery, Dieter Scholz, visited the foundation and got a taste of our work there too. Foreign curators and others showed great interest and we had offers to go on display abroad.» Local art buffs will have an opportunity to see up close the works of the two artists who went to Egypt at a special exhibition that will open at the New Wing of the Benaki Museum on March 15. Lizzie Calliga has been working on «Swimmers» since 1997. She has been observing and recording those swimming at the Aghios Nikolaos beach on Spetses. Those photographs convey the daily routine without the artist technically intervening in the final result. The image is shaped by the light and the iridescent waters.