South likes: A Thousand Doors at Gennadius Library, Athens

'A Thousand Doors' Installation View. NEON and the Whitechapel. Daniel Silver. Dig, 2013 (1)

Daniel Silver, Dig, 2013, installation view, A Thousand Doors. Photo: NataliaTsoukala

South likes: A Thousand Doors at Gennadius Library, Athens
A Thousand Doors
Gennadius Library, Athens, Greece
4 May – 30 June 2014

The result of the first major collaboration between NEON Organization and the Whitechapel Gallery is presented in the neo-classical venue of Gennadius Library and its garden. With the title A Thousand Doors, which is inspired by Jorge Luis Borges’ short story The Library of Babel, the exhibition invites the audience to explore inside and outside the library spaces over thirty international and Greek artists. Through sculpture, video and sound installation the show poses a scientific and philosophical inquiry about knowledge from its acquisition to its extinction and retrieval.
The book as both subject and sculptural object comes to the fore at the interior space where library’s treasures, books and artefacts coexist with the pieces on display. Georg Herold’s Bent poetry attracts the gaze of the viewers to a labyrinth of poetry, creating a collage of quotations in different languages suspended above readers’ heads. The display cases contain works of innovators such as the member of the Berlin Dada movement, Hannah Höch, to celebrated contemporary artists as Matthew Barney, who transforms popular magazines covers to sculptural objects with emblematic denotations. Or like Christian Boltanski who creates a Reconstitution between truth and fiction about his life and his work through personal souvenirs and historic evidences. The book becomes the basic material in Michael Dean’s and Mark Manders’ sculptures while Michael Rakowitz carves out of stone books in an effort to elaborate on the recent history of Germany and Afghanistan, while the Arte Povera pioneer Jannis Kounellis fills up library’s windows with books that create a metaphorical wall blocking the light. The Greek artists Paky Vlassopoulou and Nikos Navridis transform language into art installations. The first starting up from the Greek etymology of the word horse, which derives from illogical; the second by creating at the courtyard a book out of “filo” pastry a word that in greeks also means the leaf of a book. In the exterior space, Iwona Blazwick director of Whitechapel Gallery and curator of the exhibition, selected artworks that “bring together the legacy’s of greek civilization and contemporary art” and “offer the opportunity for the people of Athens and the tourists of the city to come and engage in some of the most important works being produced in contemporary art today from around the world”. Following this smooth parcours in the garden visitors have the chance to see Daniel Silver’s installation Dig, where his sculptures, inspired by ancient Greece as fragment of an archaeological excavation, are posed on archeological tables and look as if they came back home after years of wandering. A question about history and time tries Adrián Villar Rojas in his Return of the World, in which the fragility of his materials acts like past remnants and at the same time as staples for the future. A similar reflection of sculpture in the context of time travel has Giuseppe Penone, inviting us to explore the relation between natural environment and site specific art through his casted-bronze tree.

Klea Charitou

'A Thousand Doors' Installation View. NEON and the Whitechapel. Georg Herold. Bent poetry, w. up, 1997-2014 (1)

Georg Herold, Bent poetry, w. up!, 1997/ 2014, wood, ink, metal and wire, installation view, A Thousand Doors. Courtesy the artist. Photo: NataliaTsoukala

'A Thousand Doors' Installation View. NEON and the Whitechapel. Adrian Villar Rojas. Return The World (from the series), 2012 (1)

Adrián Villar Rojas, Return The World (from the series), 2012, clay (unfired), wood, cement, metal. Courtesy the artist and kurimanzutto, Mexico City
installation view. Photo: NataliaTsoukala


share this on facebook share this on twitter share this on google+ share this on pinterest more