The chamber of artists gets busy

Much has been said about the so-called new Greek contemporary art scene – with fresh faces trying to make their artistic mark. The truth, however, is that audiences rarely get to see large-scale group exhibitions by Greek artists in the 25 to 40-year-old age group. An exhibition that opened at Gazi last week, organized by the Greek Chamber of Visual Arts, comes as a pleasant surprise on many levels and provides a rich visual feast. «Image, Space, Action 2» features 650 works by 300 artists under 40 years old, selected from among the organization’s 4,500 members. The exhibitions provides an opportunity to gain a a better understanding of the output of this particular age group, as well as being a forum for up-and-coming artists to present their work to the wider public – irrespective of whether they also collaborate with a gallery. In contrast to most group shows, the Technopolis exhibition has not been curated by any one individual and participating artists were free to choose which works they preferred to show. Scattered around various areas of the Gazi complex are paintings, sculptures, installations, videos, photographs and engravings. Clearly there is great variety here – along with a sense of imbalance – yet the overall feeling is positive. It is, moreover, interesting to see the chamber displaying its potential and promoting cultural activity. The organization has been struggling with a number of issues over the last few years, such as artists’ pensions and its own funding, but has found it extremely difficult to overcome bureaucratic obstacles. Being held thanks to the efforts of a number of volunteers along with financial support from Parliament, the exhibition proves that the chamber is able to guarantee its members a forum for artistic expression. It is a first step in the right direction and undoubtedly the kind of initiative that could lead to it becoming established as a regular event. While paintings may be predominant here, the Gazi show contains intriguing works in numerous other media. Look out for the following: An installation based on soft, insulation materials by Eleni Angelou; paintings by Simos Veis and a photographic installation by Christos Simatos, among others. While some of the artists have already found their voices, many are still in the exploration process. But, ultimately, what is important here is that the works are on display and this is the best possible encouragement the artists could receive. It is worth noting that a large number of Athens School of Fine Arts graduates will never have a show in their entire lives or will end up giving it all up early in their careers. Technopolis, 100 Pireos, Gazi, tel 210.323.5353.