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Greece at Venice Biennale
Pavilion of Greece at the 58th International Art Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia
Thursday, 11 April 2019 11:22

Pavilion of Greece  
at the 58th International Art Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia

Artists Panos Charalambous, Eva Stefani, and Zafos Xagoraris

represent Greece at the Biennale Arte 2019 in an exhibition titled Mr. Stigl curated by Katerina Tselou

May 11–November 24, 2019 | Pre-opening: May 8–10, 2019 | Inauguration: May 10, 2019, 14:00 | Giardini, Venice

Mr. Stigl, who lends his name to the title of the Greek Pavilion exhibition, is a historical paradox, a constructive misunderstanding, a fantastical hero of an unknown story whose poetics take us to the periphery of official history, but also of reality. He may be an ironic narrator who introduces us to a space of doubt, paraphrased sounds, and nonsensical identities and histories.

What does history reword and what does it conceal, consciously or not? In the environment created by the three Greek artists Panos Charalambous, Eva Stefani, and Zafos Xagoraris, there is a transposition occurring, from grand narratives to personal stories. The unknown (or less known) of history emerge, subverting the indisputable character of the official record—in a playful manner. These fragmentary narratives do not attempt to retrieve the past but to create polyphonic stories in a condition of active present.

The voices introduced by Panos Charalambous reach us through the rich collection of sounds he has accumulated since the 1970s. Known for combining installations with sonic performances, he brings forward those who have been forgotten or silenced, recomposing their orality through an idiosyncratic play. Two such voices constitute the starting point for his glass installation A Wild Eagle Was Standing Proud, upon which an ecstatic, “ultrasonic” dance is performed—a vortex of deep listening. The viewer is invited to walk on this transparent stage and leave behind an echo, a trace.

Eva Stefani moves between the genres of observational cinema and experimental film. In Anaglyphs, she retells human stories that at first sight seem marginal, of little importance, yet unravel as significant paradoxes of realism and fiction. Small ceremonies of private life. “An infinitely large number of infinitesimally small actions,” as per Tolstoy’s description of history. She cites her own previous filmic stories and subversive acts to archival footage in this new work. And like the pages of a diary, it reveals the intimacy of the human condition through an unofficial telling of the past that casts light upon history.

The work of Zafos Xagoraris often references historical details or neglected facts that connect to a specific site and institutional framework. He takes as point of reference an image or a sound to draw out a fact or a story for the present; an attempt to give rise to small changes in the reception of institutions and their histories. His installation The Concession transports us to 1948, connecting the Greek past (specifically the troubled years of the Civil War and the concentration camps) with the movement of modernism and also the figure of Peggy Guggenheim. That year the Pavilion of Greece was offered to the American collector to show her pivotal collection of modern art for the first time on European soil, essentially changing the history of the Biennale itself.

The Metropolitan Organisation of Museums of Visual Arts of Thessaloniki (MOMus) has been appointed commissioner of Greece’s national participation by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports. The role of commissioner is undertaken by Syrago Tsiara, deputy director of the MOMus–Museum of Contemporary Art and MOMus–Experimental Center for the Arts. The project is funded by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports.

The project is powered by Onassis Culture.  
With the support of NEON Organization for Culture and Development and Aegean Airlines as Air Carrier sponsor.

About the Participants:

Panos Charalambous has participated in exhibitions in Greece and internationally, among others, documenta 14, Athens and Kassel (2017); White House Biennial, Varna (2016); eidos, Besançon (2014); Break-Through, Madrid (2004); Copenhagen, Cultural Capital of Europe (1996); Kunst–Europa, Berlin (1991). He lives and works in Athens, where he is Rector of the School of Fine Arts.

Eva Stefani is a documentary filmmaker, visual artist, and poet. Her films have been screened in various international film festivals, such as Oberhausen, Osnabrück, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), Cinéma du réel, and Lisboa Docs. She has also participated in international exhibitions, most recently documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel. She teaches Cinema Studies at the University of Athens and is a visiting professor at Freie Universität, Berlin.

Zafos Xagoraris has participated in international exhibitions, including documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel, Sao Paolo Biennial, Manifesta, Athens Biennale, and Thessaloniki Biennale. He has also been a visiting researcher at the University of Michigan, University of Sassari, and Columbia University. He lives and works in Athens, where he teaches at the School of Fine Arts.

Katerina Tselou was Assistant to the Artistic Director and Curatorial Advisor of documenta 14 (2014–17). She was a co-curator for the 4th Athens Biennale in 2013. From 2009 to 2013 she was the curator of the visual arts program at the National Theatre of Greece, and from 2007 to 2008 she worked as Exhibition Coordinator at Argos, Centre for Art and Media in Brussels. She has also organized projects as an independent curator in Greece, collaborating with institutions such as the Athens School of Fine Arts and the European Film Festival. She lives and works in Athens.

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The 58th International Art Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia titled May You Live in Interesting Times is curated by Ralph Rugoff.


The pre-opening for accredited press and professionals takes place on May 8, 9, and 10, 2019.

The exhibition is open to the public from May 11 to November 24, 2019.


Duration: May 11–November 24, 2019  
Closed on Mondays (except May 13, September 2, November 18, 2019)

Visiting hours: 10 a.m.–6 p.m. 

Venue: Giardini, Venice

Last Updated on Monday, 15 April 2019 07:09
Τοποθέτηση της Υπουργού Πολιτισμού και Αθλητισμού στα εγκαίνια του Ελληνικού Περιπτέρου στην 58η Μπιενάλε της Βενετίας
Friday, 12 April 2019 11:22
There are no translations available.

Ένα ιστορικό παράδοξο και μία παρανόηση εμπνέουν τον τίτλο και το περιεχόμενο της ελληνικής συμμετοχής στην 58η Μπιενάλε της Βενετίας. Δεν είναι όμως η παραδοξότητα και οι αντιφάσεις  οι τρόποι με τους οποίους συχνά αντιλαμβανόμαστε και το παρελθόν και βιώνουμε το παρόν; Δεν είναι περισσότερο αυτό που μας διαφεύγει από εκείνο που προσπαθούμε να ορίσουμε, από τη σιγουριά μας και τη βεβαιότητα; Γι’ αυτό το λόγο η τέχνη, που συνήθως αναρωτιέται και αμφιβάλλει, είναι αυτή που μας αποκαλύπτει περισσότερα για τις κρυφές όψεις της πραγματικότητας, τις πιο ενδιαφέρουσες.

Last Updated on Friday, 10 May 2019 10:45

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