Wednesday 28 September 2011

Goodbye for now...

It is the end of the summer for us, and we have to leave our neighbourhood here. Today could have been our last swim, but it felt a bit chilly, so we decided to go for a walk along the sea instead.

The beach was deserted except for a few die hards.

All the umbrellas and loungers gone - put away for the winter. Instead, the first sign of the winter sculpture: someone makes this every day during the winter and seeing it is a sure sign that the summer is over.

Enough people swimming to make me feel envious and regret that we did not brave the water.

A good day to go sailing though - sunny and windy.

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Riita Paivalainen

After seeing Wind I, by Riita Paivalainen at the Byzantine Museum last week, I had to find out more about her, and discovered  that all her photographs are as stunning and atmospheric as this one.

There is a  magical quality in the dream-like beauty of Paivalainen's work.

Her photographs are based on site specific sculptures/installations she makes from clothes she buys in flea markets and thrift shops.

© Riitta Päiväläinen

During the 'Ice Project' she started soaking and then quickly forming the clothing as it quickly froze, thus animating it

She then encountered another element, namely wind, and this led to yet more experimental sculptures.

© Riitta Päiväläinen

"I am interested in old garments because they carry silent unknown stories and histories ..."
"For me, a  piece of clothing represents above all, its former wearer. It tells you that somebody has been present. However, the person who wore it is now gone... By freezing the garment or letting the wind fill it with air, I am able to create a sculptural space, which reminds me of its former user. This 'imaginary meeting' represents for me, the subtle distinction between absence and presence.

Landscape plays an essential role. Landscape is not only a topographical, objective phenomenon. For me, it is personal and subjective. Working with a landscape means going into it: experiencing and sensing the place. When I place clothes into a landscape I create an installation. In this sense landscape can be considered as a stage. Bringing those two elements (landscape and clothes) together I create a dialogue - an interaction. My aim is to suggest and bring forth potential stories, mental images and associations".


"The unavoidable fact that I will never know the personal stories and actual histories connected with the clothes arouses my curiosity. The clothes remain silent withholding their secrets. Little by little, personal histories are absorbed into the collective history".

"This 'unwritten history' surrounds me all the time. I can feel its presence in various ways: as a rip in a coat; as a place worn thin in an armchair; as a light footprint on an inner sole of a shoe".

"Each of her installations, with a 'setting' (the landscapes), 'actors' (clothes) and 'atmosphere' (light), is carefully prepared. However, in working in natural elements, Paivalainen is also open to the accidental, the unforseen, and surprise.  By using photographs rather than the installation as the final work of art, she is able to choose the exact frame and moment she is looking for, and in so doing, maintains control over the decision as to what she includes and what she leaves out". (Andrea Holzherr).

KEHRER VERLAG : Riitta Paeivaelaeinen - Imaginary Meetings

As in a lot of Nordic art and literature it is the combination of the harsh climate and the feeling of loneliness that is so poignant.


Monday 26 September 2011

Borders at the Byzantine Museum

At the Byzantine Museum on Vasilissis Sofias Avenue,

through the arch

and we enter the courtyard, a little haven in the middle of the noise and traffic of Athens, exacerbated this time as there was a public transport strike, coupled with demonstrations in Syntagma

The European Investment Bank's art collection, on show for the first time. A very interesting collection of art from the late 20th century, a lot of abstracts, huge panels of paint and colour beautifully displayed in three large rooms. The most memorable ones: a huge panel by Jannis Kounellis, a mixed media piece by Louise Bourgeois, and the discovery of three new names: Per Kirkeby, Ritta Paivalainen and Jorma Puranen.

We were not allowed to photograph but I do want to have a record of some of the pieces from the collection so I managed to retrieve some from the internet.

Callum Innes, Exposed painting Lamp Back


Joan Pijuan, Limits

Anish Kapoor, Untitled


Maimousa Guerresi, Black Oracles


Ritta Paivalainen, Wind I, Kuopio, Finland

This was matched by an exact  replica, set on an English beach this time, (Wind II, Seascale England),  but I could not find a photograph.

Friday 23 September 2011

National Museum of Contemporary Art

Three exhibitions at the Museum currently

This is a temporary venue for the Museum  -  it has been temporary for I don't know how long, while the Fix beer factory is being converted and which will eventually house the museum.

I like this space though. It is housed in the Conservatory of Athens, a side entrance with the lobby pictured above, and then you go down two flights of stairs

it is rough, industrial, and I like the feel of it.

It is a cavernous space, and the large paintings of Apostolos Georgiou look right here.

Untitled, Apostolos Georgiou

Within the large space there are also small cosy rooms that contain and enclose the art displayed

We now go upstairs on the ground floor in a small room where Maaria Wirkkala's 'Wondering'  installation is staged. A circular clothes hanger going round, clothes covers with a single word which is illuminated at each stage: actuality, living being, particular, plot, matter, method, principle...

and text.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

New religion, Damien Hirst

The opening of the Damien Hirst exhibition at the Benaki Museum in Pireos.

The new religion being medicine, and more specifically, pharmaceuticals. The usual obssession with death and mortality.

48 works, mostly prints, working together as a whole, starting with the birth of Christ and finishing with the Apocalypse.

Pills, more pills and yet more pills. Different pills for different apostles.

The Gospel according to Damien Hirst.

The human wish to keep mortality at bay.

Religion and science having the same aim, namely to make us forget our mortality, the Bible as an 'immortality pill'.

Have pharmaceuticals now replaced religion as the opium of the people?

Tuesday 20 September 2011


Given the times we live in, a post on a bank seems appropriate....

White marble floors, red marble walls, black marble columns.

No tellers, just a receptionist, and behind the right coloumn a cordoned off entrance to the nether regions

The original Fernando Botero sculpture (The Rape of Europe) is huge

dwarfing everyone and everything

a sitting area with Barcelona chairs and lounger. The two globes are water features, with water running around them continuously.

What opulence....

Sunday 18 September 2011


Went past Antonello again and as usual, the displays are stunning

autumn colours

beautifully arranged

I am always gushing in my admiration and praise when I go in there

This time they said how difficult it is to create varied displays in the summer

but I think they manage pretty well.

They said that I should come in two or three weeks' time when the autumn flowers will have come in

and they will be able to create more varied and pleasing displays

but alas I won't be here then.

I know I have posted a lot of images, but it is impossible to edit... it is all so beautiful...

a last look at the dresser display....