This year all eyes are on Athens in the wake of Documenta14, a five yearly exhibition of contemporary art that this year made its debut in Greece. Lately associated with Europe's financial crisis, Greece has emerged as a hub of creative activity and progressive thought: fertile ground for artists to interrogate and discuss Europe's social and political future.
Still in the process of rebuilding itself after the austerity measures introduced in 2010, Athens is nevertheless alive with art, culture, and visitors. Alongside Documenta many artists—including past Kaldor Public Art Projects artists Michael Landy and Gregor Schneider—are creating site-specific projects in the historic city.
Kaldor Public Art Project artist Michael Landy in Athens
30 March – 11 June 2017
Both images: Michael Landy, Breaking News – Athens, Diplarios School, 2017. Photo: Stefanos Giannoulis, Courtesy NEON
Michael Landy recently took over residence at the Diplarios School in Athens, transforming its rooms and corridors into a labyrinth of news and images. Commissioned by art organisation NEON Greece, the imagery of Breaking News was compiled by the public. Landy invited public contributions in an attempt to map the feelings, reactions and experiences of Athens' inhabitants. Landy interpreted the chosen images in blue ink on white, aiming to document the social and political landscape of contemporary Athens.
Revisit Landy’s Acts of Kindness, 2011, for Kaldor Public Art Project 24.
Kaldor Public Art Project artist Gregor Schneider in Athens
8 – 21 May 2017
Images: Gregor Schneider, Invisible City, Omonoia Square, Athens 2017. Photo: Stavros Petropoulos
Gregor Schneider recently made a part of downtown Athens ‘disappear’. Funded by the Onassis Cultural Centre, the work placed a veil over Omonoia Square, making it invisible from above. Invisible City explores themes relating to the urban environment, visual perception, and reality. For a short time Schneider made the Square a place absent of surveillance and aerial visibility, a rare safe place in the age of the drone.
Revisit Schneider’s artwork Beach Cells, which transformed Bondi Beach for Kaldor Public Art Project 16.
8 April – 16 July 2017, Athens, and 10 June – 17 September 2017, Kassel
Since 1955 Documenta has taken place every five years in Kassel, Germany. This year, Artistic Director Adam Szymczyk introduced a two-fold structure to the exhibition, positioning Kassel and Athens as twin locations for the exhibition. Szymczyk’s aim is to address the "palpable tension between the North and the South as it is reflected, articulated, and interpreted in contemporary cultural production".
Sanja Iveković, Monument to Revolution 2017, Avdi Square, Athens. Photo: Haupt & Binder Recycled bricks from Omonoia, Monastiraki, and Syntagma and Lipasmata, Piraeus 30 × 400 × 1500 cm
Rasheed Araeen Shamiyaana, Food for Thought: Thought for Change, 2016-17, Kotzia Square, Athens. Photo: Haupt & Binder Canopies with geometric patchwork, cooking, and eating
Ground operation by Organization Earth
Marta Minujín, Payment of Greek Debt to Germany with Olives and Art, 2017, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens. Photo: Mathias Völzke Performance, 8 April 2017