Festival making a better impression with visual arts

Before and after attending Greek Festival performances at the annual event’s Pireos 260 venue, audiences are invited to take a look at the way contemporary artists approach and comment upon today’s modern world. The Pireos 260 Warehouse at 260 Pireos Street is currently hosting an installation by South African artist William Kentridge. Titled «I Am Not Me, the Horse Is Not Mine,» the project is a visual arts installation based on «The Nose,» a satirical short novel by Nikolai Gogol in which a pompous Russian bureaucrat wakes up one day only to realize that his nose has grown longer than the rest of his body. Kentridge presents a 15-minute installation comprising eight videos screened simultaneously and accompanied by a musical soundtrack. A 500-square-meter area situated on the premises of the Pireos 260 venue is currently covered by an artwork of epic proportions: «Unplugged (Simply Botiful)» created by Christoph Buchel, is on display until July 6. «Unplugged» is part of the private contemporary art collection of Dimitris Daskalopoulos, who is also sponsoring the work’s exhibition. A complex installation, the work compels the viewer to stroll along narrow tunnels, through claustrophobic halls and occasionally run into dead ends. «It’s a raw piece of work, rough and flat, just like the present. Buchel recreates a contemporary Babel or its remains,» said Daskalopoulos, who urges visitors to go on a tour of the work as if walking through a kind of hell defined by silence and absence. Buchel is prone to exploring feelings of security and confinement as well as victim and voyeur behavior. Born in Basel in 1966, where he still lives and works, the artist is well known for his large-scale installations as well his semantic works. An exhibition of photographs by Socratis Socratous is currently on display at the Benaki Museum’s Pireos Street annex (138 Pireos & Andronikou). The show will remain at the Gazi venue until June 20, before moving to Pireos 260 on July 3. This is the Cypriot photographer’s first exhibition in Athens: «2000-2010: Socratis Socratous Photographs Athens» is a singular type of diary, though not exactly a case of photojournalism. For Socratous, the project has taken years, with his lens capturing the subversive side of familiar images and places. In the past, Socratous has collaborated with numerous Athenian theater troupes, including the dance company created by Dimitris Papaioannou. Meanwhile, the Greek Festival appears to be paying particular attention to its visual arts offerings, a department which did not fare particularly well last year.