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Hundreds queue to see the Greek pavilion at the 54th Biennale in Venice

12 June 2011 / 21:06:46  GRReporter
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A colorful, chattering crowd has been filling Giardini della Biennale, the gardens of Venice, since Tuesday for the greatest celebration of fine arts on the planet – the 54th La Biennale di Venezia, with ILLUMInations as its central theme.

Once inside, visitors find themselves in an enchanting new world. Coming from all around the world, young and elderly, they tour among numbers of countries’ pavilions that for decades since the forum exists could always be found in the same exact place.

Since 1934, when architects G. Papandreou and B. Del Guidice built it, the Greek pavilion has been standing next to a small canal running through the gardens. Today, its appearance is completely different.

The artist Diohanti has decided to cover the outside of the pavilion entirely in thin wooden slats, leaving small wholes for people take peeks at what is happening inside. This new appearance proves to be quite attractive to the visitors. “For the first time we see this many people in front of the Greek stall,” say organizers, pointing out the positive comments the Guardian, officials from the Guggenheim Museum and various international press representatives extended to Diohanti about her artwork, named “Beyond Reform.” The spirit of the pavilion is truly reflected in its minimalistic vision.

“I have decided to coat the pavilion from the outside in order to show that we, Greeks, in such a difficult environment need to withdraw into ourselves, focus and reflect,” the 66 years old artist told Vima newspaper. “The idea was to “remove” the outside facade, and create the impression of a building which hosts some sort of preparation,” adds curator Maria Marangou.

You wonder, what’s inside the pavilion? A platform, which leads to a beam of light, among the dominating presence of water. I wanted the canal to be part of the installation and show its connection to the place, and the ray of light is there to symbolize hope, which never ceased to exist. And of course, that it will come from Greece itself,” says Diohanti. According to her, this work is undoubtedly carrying political connotation.

“We are looking at the first installation in situ on Greek part by and artist who takes particular interest in time and space,” explains Maria Marangou. The curator said the artist started researching the place in January in order to create this piece, which took 18 technicians to put together. The overall cost did not exceed 160 000 Euros.

However, Greece did not confine to national representation. On Thursday, curator Katerina Gregou opened the Danish pavilion, with “Speech Matters” as a topic, in Venice. Two Greeks, Stelios Faitakis and Mihail Karikis, participate in the project together with 16 other artists of various nationalities. “It is interesting that only two Danish artists have worked on their country’s pavilion,” says Katerina Gregou in her opening speech, accompanied by a number of performances. New York Times announced Denmark’s stall to be one of the best in the exhibition. The inside is covered by Stelios Faitakis’s color collage of faces of people who left their mark in fighting censorship. Mihail Karikis presented an original performance named Speaker’s Corner on an adapted balcony.

Tags: 54th Biennale in VeniceGiardini della BiennaleDiohantiBeyond Reform
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