The theme of the exhibition / installation The Philologist’s Garden by artist Eleni Papaioannou is a study on the concept of the garden into the urban space and its symbolic function as a cultural space of reflection, of exchange of views and knowledge through dialogue
Main inspiration of the project — which is designed specifically for the courtyard of the Epigraphic Museum — is the book of the Jewish German philologist Viktor Klemperer The Language of the Third Reich: A Philologist's Notebook. In his book, written during the National Socialism regime in Germany, the writer investigates, reflects upon and analyzes at the same time the ways in which language has been gradually shaped, eroded and transformed to serve the political interests of the time.
Eleni Papaioannou, who lives and works in Berlin since 2001, selects a "real" garden, the garden of the Epigraphic Museum, a "place" with semantic references and historical power to appoint an archival — while personal- dialectic while quoting text excerpts both from Viktor Klemperer's book as well as from current excerpts of Greek and international press.
Papaioannou's artistic practice examines the relationship between artwork and urban space, the notion of the ephemeral, and the interrelation between spatial movement, material and sound. She creates large-scale site-specific installations and - through her choice of locations - makes associations between the work and architectural space. Her work is usually shown outside the confines of exhibition spaces in which the audience stumbling upon the work as they pass by, in order to change the viewer's perception on place and time.
The phrases detached from their original version, running on an ambiguous way, leaving the viewer open questions as their sources remain initially hidden. Do we read critically enough the texts published in the media? How can current texts and excerpts, published during National Socialism, be interpreted today? How are today's issues such as religious and national fanaticism, race and national purity in Greece interpreted within the country and in wider Europe?
The Philologist’s Garden urges us to walk around it and discover its meanings and its reflection upon national and international topics of today.