CULTURE

An art festival with an ecological angle

A newly established, three-day festival which starts tomorrow in Laconia in the southern Peloponnese brings together the area’s natural environment and cultural history with contemporary art. «LACONIA: ARTHUMANATURE TOPOS 2007» is the first environmental art festival held in Greece and is planned as an annual event whose goal is to create an international forum for issues related to art and the environment. Through this annual venture, the idea is also to boost tourism and the local economy and to create an institution that will gradually unify and help coordinate the various cultural events that are held throughout different parts of Laconia. The event has been organized by the Prefectural Administration of Laconia and the Organization for Cultural Development (OPANAL). At the festival, Greek and international artists are invited to create site-specific works inspired by the area’s environment and culture. Italian artist Marco Bagnoli – known for his site-specific projects organized at landmarks such as the Villa de Medici in Florence – has prepared an art installation that will expand through the city of Sparta. The park bench is the installation’s main motif. Artist Steven Antonakos has designed a public, site-specific installation at one of Sparta’s central buildings. Costas Varotsos alludes to the Byzantine period of the region’s history in an open-air installation. The three-day festival will also include an ecological project designed by Moreno Gentili that is related to the Evrotas River, a concert by pianist Umberto Petrin, a dance performance (the artist belongs to the Sinequanon contemporary dance company), a presentation of Giuglio De Mitri’s sculpture and an exhibition on the work of photographer Vangelis Kyris. Also participating are Vitantonio Russo and the poet Aldo Roda. The broader context for all events is the festival’s special tribute to the great German artist Joseph Beuys (1921-1986). A conference on his work and performances inspired by his art have been scheduled. Besides Sparta, festival events will also be held in the municipalities of Inounda which organizes the Annual Olive and Oil Festival and the municipality of Geronthrenes, home to Geraki, an area with important historical sites. Panos Papadolias is the curator and Lucrezia De Domizio together with Baronessa Durini have been appointed curators for this year. Professor Anotion D’Avossa is the event’s artistic director. The festival begins tomorrow and will run through the weekend. www.festivaloflakonia.com