Within the context of Focus on Greece, a multidisciplinary programme devoted to Greece, the Centre for Fine Arts
and the curator, Katerina Gregos, present an exhibition, which probes the crisis in Greece through the new or recent work of a wide variety of contemporary artists. The exhibition looks beyond the abstract nature of economic figures or statistics, and zooms in on the humanitarian and social dimension that the crisis has engendered. No Country for Young Men is the most significant exhibition of contemporary art for 10 years outside of Greece and the first of its kind on the crisis.
Katerina Gregos work as a curator has consistently focussed, over the years, on subjects such as democracy, politics, the economy and human rights. With No Country for Young Men, the curator aims to question the almost one-dimensional perception of the crisis in Greece created by the stereotypical representations conveyed by the media. The exhibition No Country for Young Men explores the state of affairs in Greece today, complicating the question of the crisis and shedding light on how it has affected the Greek people, the social body, institutions, landscape and environment, as well as artistic production. The exhibition reflects the social and economic reality and pays special attention to the dramatic transformations that have occurred in light of the crisis. The project also focuses on small initiatives and collectives that have sprung up as a reaction to the hardship, manifesting a kind of creative resistance, and testifying to the power of the artistic imagination. However, the critical nature of the Greek crisis is not something that concerns only the Greeks. It is symptomatic of a wider as well as European malaise, and can be considered a pars pro toto for the global picture (albeit in its most extreme form).
32 artists and collectives, from different generations, have been selected for the pertinence of their work in a historically and politically crucial moment for Greece and Europe as a whole. The work presented in the exhibition is either newly produced or recently made, reflecting the artists engagement with this precarious moment for the country. The exhibition is a lively, kaleidoscopic, sometimes explosive but also humorous or poetic visual patchwork that reflects Greeces turbulent times and generates a sense of urgency, vitality, affectivity and emotive power. It is conceived of a visual essay; as one totality with an overarching theme but with different sub-texts and thematic strands pertaining to the effects but also causes of the crisis.
But No Country for Young Men also strikes a positive note. According to Katerina Gregos: There is always hope. In spite of the gravity of the events, the present moment offers a very significant opportunity to address our flaws, to re-invent the country and to imagine things differently. In this respect, the Greek crisis should not be seen as a deadlock but as an opportunity to rethink the future of the country.
The exhibition, designed by Danae Giamalaki, consists of architecture in the form of a labyrinth, which enables the visitor to move around a maze-like circuit with multiple choices. Inspired by the complexity of the Horta building, the distribution of the space leads the visitor down multiple routes. A journey between an imaginary start and finish sometimes leaves the viewers disoriented. Visitors walk between and along paths, some of which lead to dead ends, and navigate the sharp tunnel-like wedges dissecting the rooms. The spaces thus act as a spatial metaphor for the nature of the Greek crisis.
This maze is home to the recent creations by 32 artists in diverse media. There are, on the one hand, artists who deal with social and political reality in a very direct way, through socially engaged practices of a documentary, activist, or confrontational nature. There are also artists who deal with the issue in much more indirect, allegorical, metaphorical or suggestive ways. Visually, the work on view ranges from the narrative and the figurative, to the more abstract and the conceptual.