Over the past year and a half, the art world has witnessed a fusion of the online and physical worlds. As art fairs and galleries return to in-person events this fall, it’s becoming clear that today’s art market is now a fully hybrid one—encompassing both the digital and the physical. Within this context, the Platforms Project Art Fair 2021 –kicking off tonight 21 October and running through 24 October 2021- will take place physically at the Athens School of Fine Arts (“Nikos Kessanlis” exhibition space), following a successful digital exhibition that took place a few months ago (May 2021) via the Platforms Project Net, a virtual plan view of the exhibition hall showcasing the platforms installed on their digital stands.

The Platforms Project Art Fair– which is under the aegis and financial support of the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports- is organized for the ninth consecutive year, by Michalis Argyrou and Artemis Potamianou, who is also the artistic curator of the exhibition.

Speaking to Greek News Agenda*, ahead of the exhibition’s opening, Potamianou comments on the new hybrid reality for art fairs, which – in her opinion- is here to stay:

“It’s a fact that that the pandemic has impacted all major art events, including the Platforms Project, urging them to turn into a hybrid version. This (pandemic crisis) development gave us the opportunity to turn a disadvantage into an advantage. The Fair always had an international character/dimension; this year alone, 54 platforms from 25 countries participated in the physical exhibition, while 91 platforms from 28 countries took part in the online exhibition. The online exhibition gave the public from all these countries the opportunity to visit it, something that would not have been possible with a physical exhibition; more specifically, the online exhibition has attracted viewers from more than 80 countries… It is definitely a useful tool which we will definitely develop further, and maintain alongside the physical exhibition each year. I think this (hybrid) model will become the rule for everything in the future”.

ARTIA GALLERY Greece Urban MultitudesWe 33 by ARTIA Gallery Platform, Greece | Urban Multitudes II

Platforms Project’s aim is to present the independent art scene, as it is expressed by artist-run initiatives. More specifically, the aim of the exhibition is to map visual artworks as they are produced within the frame of artist group initiatives from the international art environment in order to find collective solutions to contemporary art questions. Within this context, Greek News Agenda asks Platforms Project’s artistic curator to share her view on the Greek contemporary art scene and whether Athens could become Europe’s new art capital?

The Greek art scene is of great interest and we have a lot of good artists. Living on the periphery of Europe, however, can be a negative factor for turning Athens into Europe’s new art capital. I think that we should highlight the strengths of our arts scene while evaluating its disadvantages. When living on the periphery of Europe, for instance, artists may not have the same opportunities as artists in central Europe, but they can create/be part of an arts scene with a fresher look” says Artemis Potamianou.

In Vivo GreeceIn Vivo platform, Greece

Last year, amidst the Covid-19 peak, Platforms Project was the first fair in Greece and the second in the world to be organized online; it was visited by viewers from 82 countries and had more than 315,000 views, while the Platforms Project YouTube channel received over 10,000 views during the days of the online fair. This year, the physical version of the fair features 54 platforms from 25 countries (including Greece) and more than 700 artists. Parallel to the main exhibition, the Fair offers a rich and multifaceted program of speeches (Talks 2021), videos, and performances by the participating groups, as well as ‘Open Studios” where teaching studios of the Athens School of Fine Arts present the students’ actions and works.

* Interview by Eleftheria Spiliotakopoulou

More info: visit the Platform Projects official website

See also on GNA: Arts in Greece | Platforms Project goes digital;  ECLIPSE: The Athens Biennial returns for its 7th edition; Former Tobacco Factory Transformed into Athens’ New Cultural Hub; Athens School of Fine Arts celebrates 180 yearsArts in Greece | Athens: Europe’s New Mecca for Street Art; Arts in Greece | Exploring the Athens Metro, Greece’s Underground “Museum”.