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Remains of a summer bliss

2016

Presented in Athens in September 2016, this multi-part installation invited gallery visitors to experience the end of summer as a metaphor for a critical historical conjuncture for Greece: the first summer after the signing of its third (and final) bailout, following the country's 2010 bankruptcy. Agreed in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008, this was a dramatic and costly deal, signed by Greece's first-ever left-wing government. Notably, its rise to power became a symbol of change for many anti-capitalist and left-wing parties, both in Europe and across the world. In addition, 'Remains of a summer bliss' coincided with the 500th anniversary from the publication of 'Utopia' (1516), through which English writer and philosopher Thomas More introduced the Greek-based term "utopia" to the world. Inspired by this anniversary and its parallels with Greece’s recent history, the starting point of ‘'Remains of a summer bliss' is the neon sign 'Amaurot' – the name of the capital city of the imaginary island of Utopia. Yet, the sign is malfunctioning, as instead of signifying the notion of "never dark" ("amaurotos" in Greek), it connotes a state of decay ("a rot"). Using a variety of media and found objects, the installation investigates what remains from this world that appears to be dying, and what remains to be done to give birth to a new one. Like items abandoned on a beach by holidaymakers, the "dispersed" components of the installation are testaments to this complex, or even contradictory amalgamation. Together, they signal the enduring volatility of a globalized environment in which any direction taken cannot guarantee the reaching of the desired destination anymore, as multiple obstacles arise: from the proliferation of post-truth politics to the ongoing threat of terrorism; and from the effects of poverty to mindless and unsustainable consumerism. In contradistinction to dominant apolitical narratives proclaiming that "ignorance is bliss", the installation playfully confronts this reality to reflect on the origins of the uncertainty that we are experiencing.

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