reality check

artefact athens, Athens / Greece

September 9–October 17, 2021
October 12, 2021
Dafni Psychiatric Hospital of Athens
Leoforos Athinon 374
124 62 Athens
Greece

www.artefact-athens.org
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Participating artists: Eozen Agopian, Lydia Andrioti, Katerina Apostolidou, Zeina Barakeh (USA), Brothers Quay (UK), Robert Cahen (France), Lydia Dambassina, Diohandi, Angie Drakopoulos (USA), Efi Fouriki, Aikaterini Gegisian (UK), Yorgos Giotsas, Irini Gonou, Zoe Hatziyannaki, Daniel Hill (USA), Marion Inglessi, Elina Ioannou (Cyprus), Vassilis Karouk, Renee Magnanti (USA), Despina Meimaroglou, Vana Ntatsouli, Bill Pangburn (USA), Eleni Panouklia, Vivi Perysinaki, Ada Petranaki, Belle Shafir (Israel), Orit Ben-Shitrit (USA), Dimitra Skandali, Marianne Strapatsakis, Lambros Taklis (France), Nikos Tranos, Tania Tsiridou, Marios Voutsinas, Eleni Zouni.

Curator + concept design: Kostas Prapoglou / artefact athens

 

 

"Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality"
–Lewis Carroll, through the mouth of Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland, 1865

The psychiatric hospital of Dafni is situated on the axis of the ancient Sacred Way connecting Athens with the town of Eleusis [where the processional ceremony of the Eleusian Mysteries used to take place in antiquity] and opposite the sanctuary of Dafnios Apollo, above which the Byzantine monastery of Dafni was later built.

In an area of high spiritual and mental rebirth since ancient times, the hospital was built in 1925 as the first State Psychiatric Hospital and has been continuously functioning ever since.  

Curated by dr Kostas Prapoglou and organised by non-profit cultural organisation artefact athens, the exhibition titled reality check takes place at one of the larger—now abandoned—buildings of the hospital grounds. Its focus transcends the objective hypostasis of a psychiatric hospital. It gazes beyond ideas of institutional confinement, it overrides mental illness as a medical condition and surveys the structural constraints and qualities of the mind in relation with space and time.

Spacelessness (having and understanding no borders or limits) is a term that is further investigated in this exhibition. We also explore how consciousness, language and speech stand against gravity and how oftentimes visual landscapes turn into mindscapes and vice versa. Notions of the inside and outside are also taken into account (where is insanity really located? Where do we normally find the real madhouse?).

This is not an exhibition about the psychiatric hospital per se; viewers enter the micro-cosmos of an asylum but leave having witnessed what spaceless time and timeless space might mean, filtered through the omnipresence of human consciousness. The hospital is a simple point of embarkation and reality check brings to the fore not only the ideological follies of our existence, but it also unpacks and unfolds its meaning layer after layer.

Thirty-four international artists have been invited to participate with site-specific and context-responsive works embracing the diversity of their visual [or non-visual] vocabulary through installations, video, soundscapes, sculpture, photography and performance. Each artist’s practice constructs a collective effort to archive possibilities with human existence as the protagonist, who is in constant battle with time and space.

The curator's research for this exhibition began several months before covid-19 became a fundamental part of our lives and the world started experiencing severe lockdowns. The paradoxical synchronisation and timing of the current pandemic situation with the conceptual framework of the show, became an additional vital element in the creative praxis of all participating artists because –amongst other things– they all experienced their own personal restraint and experienced what the inside and the outside could possibly mean on an interpersonal, social, and universal level. 

Reality check is a story that features an array of protagonists; time, space and human existence. All three dictate the visual lexicon of the works on view, shaping up convoluted narratives and allowing us to develop our own individual awareness of actuality. They all play a manifold role on a par with our protagonists, merely driven by our impulses, emotions and cognitive attitudinal shifts. 

Hours: Thursday–Sunday 3–8pm

Reservations and info: info [​at​] artefact-athens.org

With the financial support and under the auspices of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports.