@ EMST in Athens

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The National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) is currently presenting Bia Davou’s A Retrospective and Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries‘ solo exhibition entitled Close your Eyes.

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Starting with Davou, she was born in 1932 in Athens. She studied painting at the studio of Costas Iliades (1952-58). Her early work focused on Abstract Expressionism. In 1958, she became involved with the artist and mathematician Pantelis Xagoraris.

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In 1967 she embarked on a series of three-dimensional compositions of plastic materials, where were then composed in multicolor grids. In 1978, she showed the series Serial Structures at Desmos Art Gallery for the first time.

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In 1981, Serial Structures 2 –Odyssey consisted of drawings in which she copied Homeric verses and further arranged them in Fibonacci sequences. Around the same period, she began a series of presentations with sails, which allude to the journey of Ulysses.

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In 1987, she participated at the 19th Biennale of Sao Paolo, where she correlated the sail environment with the land of Cimmerians, the land of the dead and one of the stops on Ulysses’ mythical journey.

The above quests culminated in the exhibition entitled Epitaph at Demos Art Gallery in 1990. In 1996, her retrospective exhibition was held at the House of Cyprus in Athens.

Bia Davou passed away in 1996.

The exhibition was co-curated by two emerging curators, Stamatis Schizakis and Tina Pandi. In 2005-08,  Schizakis worked on numerous exhibitions at EMST, such as: Videographies: The Early Decades, The Years of Defiance: The Art of the ‘70s in Greece, The Grand Promenade, and In Present Tense: Young Greek Artists with Tina Pandi & Daphne Vitali. In 2007, Pandi curated the retrospective exhibition of Nikos Kessanlis: From Matter to Image and co-curated the exhibition In Present Tense: Young Greek Artists. In 2008 she curated the exhibition Ulrich Rückriem: Shadows of the Stone, the latter being one of the finest exhibitions I have seen in Athens thus far.

Here they tell us a few words about Bia Davou’s body of work at EMST:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

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Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries is an artist collective with C.E.O. Young-hae Chang (Korea) and C.I.O. Marc Voge (USA) and based in Seoul. Chang and Voge have been working together for just about a decade now. They work with text and music, yet their medium is video. Their works are Internet-based and are best viewed and experienced from the comfort of your home right here: www.yhchang.com

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YHCHI has exhibited in numerous museums worldwide, including the Whitney, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Getty, the Tate, the Centre Pompidou, as well as at the Venice, São Paulo, and Istanbul Biennials. Last year, YHCHI presented its first international solo show at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York.

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Director Anna Kafetsi further discusses YHCHI:

It is the first time that their work is being presented in Greece at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens. Poetic, ironic, imaginative narratives and stories presented in the form of text, using Flash, accompanied by jazz music or electronic sound, move in between poetry and prose, abolish the boundaries between viewing and reading, intersect art, literature and cinema, “high” and “low” culture.

A new digital hybrid literature in many languages, which practices criticism to politico-social realities, local/universal identities and ideologies, and which we are invited to explore in the museum galleries as Flash animation installations, as well as on screen, using a web browser. The exhibition title is borrowed from the first part of the new three-part installation Close Your Eyes, commissioned by the museum.

Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries invite you all to the show:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Davou’s work offers a feminine tactile and rich experience. Her strength lies in her visual tenacity to figure out her subject through drawing, sculpture, or painting. Davou’s marks, strokes, and embroidered work do not wish to offer answers but to raise formal and conceptual questions of her time. It was a pleasure seeing her early works alongside her most recent ones.

Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries helped me make peace with video works. The wit of the text, which is in Greek by the way, becomes unexpected at such a large scale projected on the wall. Furthermore it becomes abstract symbols that narrates stories; its pace keeps the viewer focused yet it leaves room for one to escape to the poetic side of their work. It’s a successful transition from the computer screen to the white wall.

You have until March 1st to visit the show. Here are the hours you should make a startling appearance:

EMST address at the Athens Conservatory:
Vas. Georgiou B’ 17-19 and Rigillis St. (Entrance on Rigillis St.)

Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Sunday: 11 am – 7 pm
Thursday: 11 am – 10 pm
Monday: Closed


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