South likes: Manolis Baboussis at Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center, Athens

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Manolis Baboussis, The Nothing Shop, 2006-2012, marker on paper. Courtesy of the artist and Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center, Athens

South likes: Manolis Baboussis at Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center, Athens
Beyond Planning
Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center, Athens, Greece
February 6 – March 22, 2014

The two rows of chairs touching one another, the unfounded wall made of cement blocks raised between and on them—protection or separation: a suspended dialogue that falls behind or an invitation to take down stereotypes? A sculptural installation made of indistinguishable elements and structural materials or a conceptual photographic image, in the instant just before or just after the camera lens captures and freezes it for ever? The in situ installation Untitled (2014) at the first floor of the gallery raises questions, but certainly allows us to understand the way Manolis Baboussis uses twin concepts and plays with dualities, even through the title of his exhibition Beyond Planning which is developed at the second floor.
The wall recurs in many pieces, from different chronological periods, functioning as an architectural element that defines the parameters and the limits of public, personal or memorial space; like in The cemetery of anonymous artists and in Symbiosis (2006-12). Through various mediums that the artist uses, such as photographs, drawings, poems and a photo projection, he doesn’t only present the aesthetics and the prospect of the physical space. Instead he tears down the clientism that associated the land with unauthorised construction and accumulation, both signs of our times, with a provocative and sarcastic tone. Sometimes denunciatory, sometimes nostalgic and poetic, Baboussis creates a non-linear narration in which real and fictional elements coexist. Like in the imaginary Babou-city, the metaphoric Athinapolis and the Aegean Monuments, where time stops but the existential agony remains. Cities and areas beyond “urban planning” are included in a nightmarish plan where “Without reflection, without mercy, without shame / they built strong walls and high, and compassed me about. […] But never a sound of building, never an echo came. / Out of the world, insensibly, they shut me out” as Kavafis wrote.

Klea Charitou

www.art-tounta.gr/files/exhibitionCurrent.html

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Manolis Baboussis, Untitled, 2006-2012, marker on paper. Courtesy of the artist and Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center, Athens

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Manolis Baboussis, The cemetery of anonymous artists, 2006-2012, oil pastel on paper. Courtesy of the artist and Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center, Athens

Μανώλης Μπαμπουσης_Εκτός σχεδιου

Manolis Baboussis, Beyond Planning, 2001-2013, installation, lambda prints, oil pastels on paper, markers on paper, dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist and Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center, Athens
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