Art in Shop Windows
Young artists revive with their work the vacant shops of the city centre
Students and graduates of the Athens School of Fine Arts took it upon themselves to revive through the visual arts the streets of the city centre and transform the sad façades of vacant shops into “Windows to Art”. The twin goals are to rekindle the interest of Athenians in the commercial city center as well as to give the opportunity to young artists to show their work. The visual-arts project “Art in Shop Windows” will take place from December 17 through January 7.
Marios Spiliopoulos, Professor, Athens School of Fine Arts, is the project curator and Mrs Olga Patouni is responsible on the Municipality side.
The artists: Shops’ Addresses and Artists’ Names:
Stadiou 48 – Revekka Moustaki Zei
Stadiou 44G – Amalia Adoniadou, Olga Evagelidou
Stadiou 10 – Vassilis Papageorgiou, Christos Tsamis, Sotiris Fokeas/Nikos Oikonomou, Vassilis Tsakalos
Perikleous 7 – Hliana Natsou, Nikos Chantzhikonstandis
Nikis 4 – Giannis Mouravas, Christos Tsamis, Spyros Charalambopoulos
Amerikis 16 – Giorgos Gyzis, Vagelis Lioudakis, Fani Bitou
Amerikis 16 – Spyros Charalambopoulos
Akadimias 33 – Manolis Daskalakis Lemos, Efi Papaioannou, Eleni Foundoulaki
Solonos 31 – Vassilis Papageorgiou, Aimilia Liondou, Nassos Frantzeskakis
Voukourestiou 25A – Nikos Oikonomou, Eleni Soumi
Voukourestiou 50 – Peggy Kliafa, Nikos Topalidis, Nikos Oikonomou, Eleni Foundoulaki, Nassos Frantzeskakis
Pindarou 23 – Natassa Efstathiadi, MMINE group, Araseli Laimou
Patriarchou Ioakeim 11 – Vassiliki Dimitriou
Patriarchou Ioakeim 19 – Valinia Svoronou, Pandelis Giannakis
Patriarchou Ioakeim 39 – Vaggelis Lioudakis
Art in uncertain times…
As Christmas was approaching, the Municipality of Athens projecting resistance to the desertification of the center of the capital and the generated climate of moodiness, result of the galloping economic crisis, prepared a celebration program which for the first time would be based on the collectivity, the solidarity, the selfless participation of the art world. This project, in my opinion, succeeded absolutely and is an example and a point of reference for the future.
The visual exhibition “art at the shops’ windows” had as a target to activate the empty spaces of the non rented shops of the center of Athens, transforming them into a public step of expression of young artists. The social coincidence helped, so as the presence of the artworks that have been exhibited to become more intense, giving a different spot of vision to each one of us towards the general value crisis in which we live. It was not a “Christmas decoration” of shops’ windows, nor a distraction – as many have said – but a proposition of spiritual orientation and action, a practical resistance to the sad events of the times. It was mostly a position, than a view, which was based on the team spirit, the creative passion and will for action and expression of the 30 young artists who participated.
The artworks … are of different expression means, but their co-existence in the same empty shops – alternative exhibition spaces – redefines the conventional relationship of the viewer and the artwork.
I also believe that art, especially in these times we are going through, must concern and refer directly to the community and not only to the “art world” (galleries, dealers, art schools etc)
In the given “art action”, the students of the Athens School of Fine Arts do not just exhibit their artwork, but they place them in the center of an open dialogue with wider social stratum and not only with a small elite of “suspicious” of formal art. That was the precious lesson for all of us who participated to this procedure.
I hope this idea will be repeated, because it is worth to become an institution.
Director of the 3rd workshop of painting of the Athens School of Fine Arts
Text from the catalogue
Participation: Peggy Kliafa
I participated in the visual-arts event “Art in Shop Windows” with two installations, in both of which the subject was “the medicine”.
In the first artwork/installation, two “portraits” of pills were placed upon a piece of pink children’s wallpaper featuring paintings of medicine that are also consumed by children. In the second, the same pink wallpaper, with the children’s medicines taking the place of candy, becomes the fabric that furnishes a little toy house (big enough to fit two children probably), lit internally. The pink wallpaper also continues on the floor and upon it, as well as all around it, are scattered pill-toys made of fabric, as if left abandoned after children’s play – oversized soft capsules, in bold two-tones, exact replicas of actual pills.
Medicine, ambiguity, remedy-poison. With its multiple properties and great potential, the medicine became for me a means to speak about good and evil, life and death, the ephemeral, religion, the dual nature of things.
There is ambiguity in the art works, as well. Pink wallpaper, pink toy house, boldly colourful candy-like pills. Is the environment that we set up to raise our children in so pink, too?