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Architecture of Good and Evil

2012

The installation is inspired by the cultural origins of the Greek debt crisis of 2009-2018 – the epicentre of the Eurozone crisis. The work revolves literally and metaphorically around an inverted replica of an Ionic column and 172 works on paper. The works on paper have been created on pages from the seminal book of A. W. Lawrence 'Greek Architecture' (1957) that depict architectural plans of ancient Greek monuments. By painting over a single part or shape of each illustration, Balaskas aims at raising questions regarding both the polysemy of symbols and their monosemous theorization as a tool for the fabrication of a "robust" national or cultural identity. Notably, the colour used for the over-painted sections is blue; namely, the national colour of modern Greece. At the same time, all painted sections have been chosen at random. As a result, they deceitfully appear to be bearing a higher level of significance than the rest of the structure. However, in any building all parts have an equally important role to play in order for the construction to be safe, fully functional, and aesthetically pleasing. The repetitive application of the same action on all of the book’s 172 illustrations, inevitably lends to this intervention the character of a neurosis. On the top of the inverted column, a plastic plant has been placed. The plant does not originate from Greece; it belongs to an exotic species, of the kind that became very popular and was mass-imported to Greece during the 1980s. This was a decade that saw a sharp rise in the standards of living in the country, largely thanks to the abundant funds provided by the European Union. Finally, above the plant and hanging from the gallery's ceiling, there is a simple lamp. This minimalist-looking item is, in fact, the product of a high-profile designer from Northern Europe: a symbol of the "easy" wealth that Greece attained in the decades that preceded the crisis, but also, perhaps, of the North-South divide that continues to threaten Europe's unity, as well as the unity of other regions across the world. 'Architecture of Good and Evil' is a work about how something "good" can be turned into something "bad" through politics and the corruptive power of money. And it is, also, a work about how this distortion may affect the contemporary aesthetics and ideologies of a nation.

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