Artists protest raid on show

Dozens of artists as well as intellectuals and politicians yesterday condemned the closure by police on Saturday of a supposedly «indecent» art exhibit and the arrest of the show’s curator. At least 70 artists contributed pieces to a «counter-exhibition» in Metaxourgeio yesterday, intended as a protest to the authorities’ censorship of a video installation by prize-winning artist Eva Stefani at the Art Athina show. Stefani’s work – which combined footage of Greek pornograghic movies of the 1960s and 1970s with a soundtrack featuring the Greek national anthem – was shut down following a police raid on the Helexpo venue in Maroussi on Saturday. The show’s curator, Michalis Argyros, spent the night in a police cell and has been charged with offending public morals. The same charges have also been brought against Stefani, who is currently abroad. Police officials said they acted after being notified that offensive material was on display at the show, which was organized under the auspices of the Culture Ministry. But Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis yesterday indicated that he disagreed with such censorship tactics. «The particular piece is not in keeping with my aesthetics or principles, but artists are free to create and to defend their work,» he said. «I find it unacceptable that a work of art is violently removed from an exhibition,» Stefani was quoted as telling the Eleftherotypia newspaper from Germany. Stefani’s installation, located at the bottom of an escalator, had been clearly marked with signs stressing it was not suitable for those under 18 years of age.

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