CULTURE

A private apartment becomes the venue for an unusual art project

At some point or another, we have all found ourselves looking to buy or rent a house and visiting a private home that has not been emptied by its occupants but is still a living space, filled with the presence of the couple or family that resides there. The tenant offers a tour of the apartment and a strange feeling of uneasiness sets in – for what one sees is not just a bare space but the personal belongings of the people that are living in it, their aesthetic preferences and personal touches. A slight tension and a certain excitement is in the air. «Indoors,» a visual arts exhibition that opened a couple of days ago at a private apartment in Kolonaki (34-36 Karneadou Street) is likely to spur a similar feeling of uneasiness and excitement. In the project, four artists and longtime friends – Marigo Kassi, Valli Nomidou, Spyridoula Politi and Mary Christea – have joined forces to show several of their works in this apartment, which is actually home to one of the four artists. The exhibition includes photography, video, installations, sculpture and painting and is presented in collaboration with the video artist and musician Makis Faros. Interestingly, the apartment was not emptied for the purposes of this particular exhibition but will remain as it normally is with its occupant still living there throughout the 12-day duration of the exhibition. Around two weeks ago, I found myself on Karneadou Street and saw the artists in the middle of preparations. As they guided me through the house, I worried about seeming indiscreet and hesitated at the entrance to the bedroom. However, all four women artists prompted me to be indiscreet, to feel comfortable, to walk around the house and see the works. Space invasion In «Indoors,» one becomes an invader, not just of a private place but of the secrets of the people that live in it. To a certain degree, this is intentional: «This project is about shaking off the ‘patterns’ in a house, its elements. It is a constant, internal dialogue between the familiar and the unfamiliar. A home contains both,» Christea said. The idea of the project was born around a year ago. Nomidou proposed to her three friends that they organize an exhibition in a gallery, yet they soon realized that what they wanted was not a regular group art exhibition but a collaboration that entailed deeper interaction. When one of the four artists proposed her house as a venue, it all started to make sense. «We were enthusiastic. We did not choose to work on any particular theme. We started working, linked by the concerns that we all share because of our more or less closeness in age. Our ties with each other are very important in this exhibition. We found ourselves in a self-confessing mood. We felt we wanted to speak of who we are at this time in our lives,» Nomidou said. The artists also say that choosing one of their homes as a venue for the exhibition was not meant as a criticism of the more conventional venue of a gallery. Domesticity Although the artists did not work on any particular subject, they all felt drawn by the notion of the home, memories, relationships, family and the role of women. «All of us have experienced the traditional type of family and all of us have now come to realize that the traditional model of the family is being contested,» Christea said. However, the exhibition is not meant as either a feminist or feminine statement. In her installation, Kassi pokes fun at herself and the traditional housewife’s role. Politi addresses alternating gender roles. There is both humor and playfulness. One of the interesting aspects of the project is the fact that it develops through the interaction of the artists and the public. «In the end, it might come out as theater. The people will be visiting the exhibition and we will be moving around the apartment, cleaning, cooking and going on with the daily chores. It might feel a bit awkward to the visitor but this is part of the project, to build a dialogue between the space and the visitors,» Nomidou said. «Indoors» will be open for 12 days at 34-36 Karneadou St, until April 19. Hours: Mondays-Fridays 5-9 p.m., weekends 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.