Friday, 18 September 2020

Vlassis Caniaris at EMST



Vlassis Caniaris at EMST

In his artistic practice, which spanned 50 years, Caniaris adopted a critical position on political and social events, using mainly found objects. Two years into the junta in Greece he was forced to leave the country due to his work's apparent criticism of the authorities. 

During that time there was also a growing global crisis concerning the numbers of migrant workers in Europe. Many of these workers from Southern Europe had been allowed to enter countries in the North to contribute in the Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle) in an attempt to rebuild their economics after WW2. However, after the 1973 crisis, these same countries began to close their borders in an attempt to protect their own citizens. Caniaris brought these issues together in his artistic practice. In the early 1970s he began to focus on matters of national identity, social inequality and immigration and produced his most significant works.

You can see more of his work  here .  


Hopscotch, 1974, ( part of the Immigrant series). (6 human figures, 9 suitcases, 1 cage, tar-paper base, chalk drawing of hopscotch)

After WWII, and particularly in the 1960s and 1970s, hundreds of thousands of Greeks emigrated abroad.




Headless dummies standing around a hopscotch court where, instead of chalked numbers, words are inscribed alluding to stages and mechanisms of labour immigration policy. Caniaris focuses on diverse stories, voices, gestures, and ordinary objects relating to the working and living conditions of 'guest workers' - the migrant workers who travelled to Western Europe following transnational agreements since the late 1950s - reflecting the unstable reality of territorial displacement, social exclusion, national identity and contested citizenship.




















Homage to the Walls of Athens, (mixed media on canvas)::




Athens, as well as the whole of Greece, is full of political graffiti.


Aspects of Racism II, 1970 (plaster):






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