21.05.2018

Highlights from Platforms Project 2018

The sixth edition of Athens’s independent art fair signalled the beginning of what is expected to be a very busy summer season. Platforms Project 2018 was crowned with success, proved by the constant flow of visitors arriving at Athens School of Fine Arts throughout the four days of the fair to visit the 57 booths and attend the extensive programme of parallel events. Art spaces and platforms from 17 countries took part with projects and showcases of painting, installation, photography, film, performance and everything in between. A special moment in the fair’s programme was a ceremony held on Saturday the 19th by the Greek chapter of the International Art Critics Association (AICA) to honour Greek sculptor Takis with the AICA HELLAS 2018 award, in recognition of his international artistic work.

We couldn’t help but noticing that the Kessanlis hall where the fair took place seemed a bit too familiar; we later found out that the ASFA decided to religiously preserve the temporary walls that documenta 14 built for its exhibition in that same space last year. Platforms organisers were not allowed to change nothing as much as the colour of the walls or fill a crack on the floor, and were obliged to use the space as is. But thanks to the dedication and commitment of creative director Artemis Potamianou, everything fell in place wonderfully and the fair became once more a meeting place for the international independent art community that seeks new and alternative ways to be creative and connected through art. Keep reading below for a selection of what we think are the highlights of this year’s Platforms Project (presented in alphabetical order).

Stöckerselig, In Folge I and In Folge II, 2014. Images courtesy Das Esszimmer.

Staying faithful to its name, Zurich-based 24hrs Project presented a different artist every day at Platforms. We had a chance to play a bit with Guy Stephanou’s interactive installation “Us”, a wooden automaton that allowed visitors to control it with a lever. The wooden installation was masterfully designed and finished — a beautiful mobile sculpture in its own right.

Guy Stefanou, Us, 2018. Photo by Kiriakos Spirou.

One of our favourite finds at Platforms was the work of Clara Juliane Glaubert presented by Bureau d’Art et de Recherche, an artist-run organisation from Lille, France. Clara works with ink, pigments and gold leaf on paper in the manner of medieval codices to create humorous illustrations commenting on the plights of capitalism.

Clara Juliane Glauert, Ratrace, 2016.
Clara Juliane Glauert, from the Ten Commandments series, 2018.

Das Esszimmer is a “space for art” in Bonn, Germany, with a focus on art that is open and unconventional beyond limitations in form or medium. We particularly liked the large black and white prints by Stökerselig, the watercolours by Geneviéve Morin and the enchanting square prints by Dorothee von Reschenberg.

Genevieve Morin, Being, 2011. Photo courtesy Das Esszimmer.

Hailing from Zurich, Dienstgebäude is an art space run by Andreas Marti, who’s also behind und. Athens’s Swiss cousin, the Zurich Art Space Guide. Their booth at Platforms included an installation by Gianin Conrad made of a robust wooden cabinet with glass shelves on which a collection of fired clay sculptures were displayed. As directed by the artist, Andreas was spraying them regularly with water to make the clay shine and appear as if it was still soft.

Installation view of the Dienstgebäude booth at Platforms Project. In the foreground the work by Gianin Conrad, in the background a work by Andreas Marti. Photo by Dienstgebäude.

IDI Gallery is a collaborative non-profit space in Stockholm, Sweden that is run and managed by 24 individuals. They host projects, exhibitions and are open to hosting artists in their space for short-term showcases. We were drawn to their booth by a large handmade embroidery on latex by Mona Petersson, whose work deals with the environment and the current climate crisis.

Close-up of Mona Petersson's work at the booth of IDI Gallery. Photo by Kiriakos Spirou.

Artists Nikki Passath and Arnold Reinisch have created a rather unsettling performative installation for the booth of Kunsthalle Graz — that involved cubes of a human skin-like material being drawn upon by a robotic tattoo needle. The bespectacled performers in white clinical robes only made the whole encounter even more unsettling.

Snapshot of a performance at the booth of Kunsthalle Graz during Platforms Project. Photo by Kiriakos Spirou.

A tantalising assortment of polaroids by Dimitris Alexakis presented in a grid on a large wall consisted the showcase of METAPOLIS, a photography collective and art space based in Athens.

RAMDOM is a non-profit art organisation from Italy, housed on the first floor of a working train station — which is actually the final train station on the Lecce peninsula. Their projects are mostly the result of their residency programme, and at Platforms they brought several sound works and artefacts made by resident artists. We were drawn in by Giuseppe de Mattia’s rectangular vinyl recording of himself reading the shapes of metal springs as if they were handwritten vowels.

Images of metal springs retrieved from retractable pens and used as notation for Giuseppe de Mattia's recordings. Photo by Kiriakos Spirou.
Display table with recordings and publications from RAMDOM's booth. Photo by Kiriakos Spirou.

Snehta is one of Athens’s most active art residencies and presents around four exhibitions a year with works by its resident artists and curators. For Platforms they prepared a showcase curated by visual artist Antonakis Christodoulou with works by current resident artists Ajit Chauhan, Candela Bado and Dimitra Kousteridou.

Work by Ajit Chauhan from the Snehta booth at Platforms Project. Photo by Kiriakos Spirou.

Space 52 is a relatively new arrival to the Greek alternative art scene. It’s an artist-run space in Votanikos housed in a former garage that hosts exhibitions and studio spaces for its resident artists. At Platforms they showed works by seven artists, but we really swooned over the little washbasin made of soap by Cypriot visual artist Andreas Mallouris.

At the booth of SYN+ERGASIA we discovered the tender, earthy work of Panagiotis Brendas, whose work mostly consists of temporary installations with natural materials.

Work by Panagiotis Brendas at the booth of SYN+ERGASIA. Photo by Kiriakos Spirou.

The M{}esum is an ongoing work by Anna Livia Löwendahl - Atomic and is basically the world’s largest collection of missing things. There were two installations presented, one on each wall of the corridor, and on one of them visitors could write their own words.

Installation view of the work by Anna Livia Löwendahl - Atomic for The M{ }esum. Photo by Kiriakos Spirou.
Installation view of the work by Anna Livia Löwendahl - Atomic for The M{ }esum. Photo by Kiriakos Spirou.

In the booth of Stockholm-based The Museum of Forgetting, Klitsa Antoniou presented a video about a dress she was wearing as a girl growing up in a refugee family in 1970’s Cyprus. As an adult she brought the dress to three fortune tellers and recorded their divinations to create an imaginary biography of herself.

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Vital Space presented an installation by Greek land-artist Danae Stratou that was presented in 2017 in Elefsina. The work “Upon the Earth Under the Clouds” consisted of hundreds of handmade clay pots that were filled with water to the brim as to reflect the sky above. You can watch a short documentary about the work below.

Danae Stratou, Upon the Earth Under the Clouds, 2017. A site-specific installation in Eleusis, Greece. Curated by Alexandra Koroxenidi. Photo via the artist's website.

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A spectacular showcase of larger works was presented by Yafca, a young artist collective that was initiated by students from the Fine Arts School in Thessaloniki. The collective is constantly growing and also works with guest artists for temporary projects.

Anastasia Papadaki, Greediness, 2017. Ink on paper, 60 x 60 cm. Photo by Kiriakos Spirou.

Text by Kiriakos Spirou

For the complete programme and list of participating platforms at the fair please visit our Calendar entry.