One of the oldest international art fairs of Europe, Art Athina, organized by the Hellenic Art Galleries Association, is opening its gates at the Tae Kwon Do Stadium arena from May 26 to 28 for Greek and foreign art lovers. For its 22nd edition, Art Athina presents its renewed profile, with a new creative team consisting of artistic director Stamatia Dimitrakopoulos with coordination manager Antonis Kourkoulos and artistic advisor Xenia Kalpaktsoglou.
The first edition of Art Athina in 1993, bearing the title “A contemporary art meeting”, consisted of 18 galleries. Over time, the core of the art fair has been enriched by national and international participations. Its multidisciplinary programme has been extended by synergies with distinguished art practitioners, museums and institutions, as well as tributes to the local scenes of other countries and educational programmes. This year’s Art Athina edition combines innovation with introspection. It boasts a total of 56 galleries and it will be enriched with new sections dedicated to video and design, tributes to Jannis Kounelis and Dimitris Mytaras and other events.
The show consists of twelve sections as follows:
The main section hosts 43 galleries from around Greece. Visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy works by prominent Greek art galleries, such as Ileana Tounta, Kalfayan, Rebecca Camchi and The Breeder, to name just a few. The Fair’s highlight is 13 international galleries, the majority of which are from Los Angeles.
Feature, a section conceived and organized by an annually appointed curator, will be curated by Myriam Ben Salah, editor-in-chief of Kaleidoscope magazine. Ben Salah invites The Third Line gallery (Dubai) and Gregor Staiger gallery (Zurich) to participate with solo shows by artists Sophia Al Maria and Shana Moulton. The title of this year’s Feature section is “Alternatives” and focuses on the work of the two artists who underline with sharp humor and dark precision the contemporary anxieties of consumer society.
Designed as a hotel room, the video room hosts CITIZENSFIVE, a project that the independent curator and writer Sasha Burenkov has curated for Art Athina. CITIZENSFIVE is a large-scale survey of emergent contemporary art from all over the world, with 32 local and international participants.
Independent curator Gallini Notti curates an archival exhibition with works that have marked the history of Art Athina. Through an act of introspection, the exhibition attempts to create an overview of the Athenian art fair throughout the years.
Τhe section also includes the audiovisual installation of artist and arts editor Katerina Zacharopoulou “Asking” (2014) that was made possible with the support of NEON organization. The installation is based on the material of the interviews conducted by Katerina Zacharopoulou for two decades, with theoreticians and representatives of museums and artists in Greece and abroad.
The performance programme includes artists from the participating galleries.
Art Athina commemorates artists Jannis Kounellis and Dimitris Mytaras. The J.F Kostopoulos Foundation presents a screening of Heinz-Peter Schwerfel’s film “Frammenti di un diario” (Germany 1996, 46΄), as well as archival and visual material from the Jannis Kounellis exhibition on the cargo vessel IONION (1994). In the context of the tribute, Manolis Baboussis pulls together the presentation “The work of Jannis Kounellis through the lens of Manolis Baboussis”. The National Gallery – Alexandros Soutzos Museum presents three paintings of the great Greek artist, from the collections of the National Gallery.
Unique, out of production furniture constitutes the section Design, from the Zoumboulakis, Eleni Martinou and Antiqua galleries. The booth of DESTE offers a presentation of 1968, in collaboration with Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari’s TOILETPAPER. A small installation featuring Radical Design furniture takes visitors on a making-of tour of the 1968 project, while at the same time introduces them to DESTE’s current exhibitions, Liquid Antiquity and DESTE Prize: an Anniversary Exhibition, 1999-2015, through the pages of their respective catalogues.
Artist drawings, painting activities, interactive exhibits and workshops sustain the programme of Very Young Contemporary Art (VYCA) addressed to cat-loving families. The participating artists of Art Athina were asked to create black and white cat-themed drawings especially for kids. The young and young at heart art crowd will afterwards explore the drawings, fill them with colour and create their own cat hero.
The rest of the Fair’s sections and programme include talks, publications by OMMU publishing house, as well as an open air installation presented by Sonora128 and a billboard project space by kurimanzutto gallery, programmed by Bree Zucker. The independent projects section consists of Greek and international independent art spaces, presenting their projects.
In addition to the new structure of Art Athina, this year the fair also presents the VIP programme, focused on eminent collectors from Greece and abroad. The special guests will be hosted in the new VIP lounge of Art Athina, furnished with exceptional pieces of Deloudis and Vitra companies.