potnia en

Antonio Riello

Ordinary Things

30.04.10 - 15.10.10

Ordinary Things 12

“What’s robbing a bank compared to founding a bank?”, wondered Berthold Brecht in his Threepenny Opera of 1928, and though eighty years or more may have gone by since then, the question remains as valid as ever, given that the legal—and still more so, the moral—response to these two equally extreme, but utterly incomparable, ways of getting rich quick hasn’t changed in the slightest.

Organized predation must not and cannot be compared with any analogous but isolated action; this was—and is—the Canon’s take on the matter.

If one takes into account the few lone voices raised in contemporary dissent, the power of that Canon extends far beyond personal issues of happiness to impinge on the sphere of Ideas and Perception.

Faced with examples such as these, thinkers like Slavoj Žižek have no qualms about generalizing and talking of blatant cynicism. A display of brute power on the part of the dominant culture which, unhindered by any form of criticism, has no need of respect, only of obedience. In this postmodern world where everything can be said and seen, Truth seems so otherworldly; anyone invoking it will be branded quaint or unpleasant—in short, anything but appealing and therefore weak.

But it has not gone unchallenged.

In 2007, in his first Greek show, Politically Incorrect, the Italian artist Antonio Riello used real weaponry to subvert the symbolism of guns by transforming them into aesthetic ‘decorative paradoxes’. In so doing, he successfully articulated a political discourse which failed to sneer at something that is nearly forgotten in this day and age: good taste.

In his new show, Ordinary Things, which is curated by Alessandro Vincentelli, curator of the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, he takes on something even more provocative: our obvious familiarity with what was made primarily to destroy and only secondarily to interest. We must be alert to our uncritical reception of every system and mechanism which encourages the production of the machinery of war—only thus can it be brought under control.

Shells and artillery, squadrons of fighter planes, hand grenades and gas masks, helmets, clubs and shields come together into installations and motifs which speak of the rationalization of repression through legally violent and terror-striking means. Creatively re-examining concepts like freedom, justice and dignity which transcend the individual, the artist ends up renegotiating the collective in its every manifestation.

His is a contemporary reading of a repellent reality.

Monday - Friday 10.00-21.00 Saturday 10.00-15.00 until 12 June; after 14 June by appointment only.

Warhol: Screen Tests

07.10.09 - 10.01.10

Warhol-Screen Tests 10
Potnia Thiron and Haunch of Venison are delighted to present the largest ever exhibition of Andy Warhol’s classic Screen Tests. Over three floors the gallery will screen 100 films to create a fascinating counter-point to the exhibition Warhol/Icon: The Creation of Image, which focuses on Warhol’s portraits and is being shown at the Byzantine and Christian Museum. Co-organised by Potnia Thiron and Haunch of Venison, which will be on display at the Byzantine and Christian Museum simultaneously, together providing an unprecedented perspective on one of the 20th century’s most innovative artists.
Andy Warhol’s obsession with fame generated some of the late 20th century’s most remarkable portraits. His motive was, he explained, ‘to make everybody look great’. Between these contrasting poles of fame and aspiration, the Screen Tests occupy a special position. From 1964-66, 189 individuals came to his Manhattan studio (the silver painted loft known as the Factory) to sit for portraits; the sittings involved each participant remaining immobile for around 3 minutes while being filmed by Warhol using a 16mm Bolex camera. The relationship between lens and face was simple but starkly confronational. There was no sound, no action, no narrative and no script. Each film was a unique record of the sitter’s response to the situation Warhol had created. In all he made 472 silent film portraits, known initially as ‘stillies’ before acquiring their later, definitive title of Screen Tests.
The range of sitters is diverse – including early Warhol superstar ‘Baby’ Jane Holzer, poet Allen Ginsberg, actor Dennis Hopper, filmmaker and Warhol’s chief assistant Gerard Malanga, actress and socialite Edie Sedgwick, singer Lou Reed, writer Susan Sontag and artist Salvador Dali. Collectively, the films are a fascinating record of the New York art scene in the 1960s.
As with the paintings, the films are underpinned by themes of sequence, repetition and series but whereas the portraits on canvas focus on the transformation of an original photographic portrait, the films engage with changes unfolding over time. Each of these portraits is a test – literally so – of the sitter’s resilience and stamina as they endure three minutes of nothing, a vacuum that each must fill while being closely observed by Warhol’s watchful Bolex. Projected at a slightly slower speed than the three minutes they took to record, the films reveal the sitter with a dispassionate but ruthless objectivity. Rather than making ‘everybody look great’ the Screen Tests probe an entirely different quality – not fame, but humanity at its most vulnerable.

Opening: Tuesday, October 06, 2009, 18:30 – 20:00
Dates: October 06, 2009 – January 10, 2010

Monday – Friday 10.00 – 21.00
Saturday 10.00 – 15.00

Potnia Thiron – Bank of Attention, will be open on Sunday 10.01.10, last day of Warhol: Screen Tests exhibition, from 9.30 to 17.30.

Stelios Karamanolis / Εlias Kafouros / Toula Ploumi

It's Probably Not What You Asked Of Me...

18.06.09 - 14.09.09

It Is Probably Not What You Asked Of Me

POTNIA THIRON – BANK OF ATTENTION presents the second part of Stelios Karamanolis, Ilias Kafouros and Toula Ploumi’s diptych show It’s Probably Not What You Asked Of Me… The first part, small detail – BIG DEAL?, was shown at the POTNIA THIRON – BANK OF ATTENTION between 18.03.09 and 30.04.09. The axis joining both shows are the issues of Corruption, Alienation, Complacency and Vanity.

In the first part, Stelios Karamanolis used sculpture, drawing, painting, video and constructions to illustrate pages from history and aspects of Man’s thirst for glory; Ilias Kafouros presented images of a society obsessed with competition and success, while Toula Ploumi focused on power relationships that are ready to explode.

small detail – BIG DEAL? depicted social reality as we live it today—as a process which largely leads to disappointment and diminishment.

In It’s Probably Not What You Asked Of Me… the artists process these phenomena on a more profound level, addressing their philosophical and (borderline) religious elements. Things are severed from the secular and experienced on a more spiritual level which, though its starting point is utterly personal, is ultimately universal in its mode of expression. In this way, they negotiate the passage from darkness (part one) to light (part two); from pain to catharsis.

This time, the exhibition will be restricted to the first floor of the Bank of Attention building. The works will not mixed together: each artist will develop the totality of their sculptures, drawings, paintings, videos and constructions in a room-installation of their own—a curatorial choice which seeks to turn the three first-floor rooms into small spiritual spaces in which atmosphere prevails over matter.

A colour catalogue will be published for the exhibition in six languages.

Opening: Wednesday June 17, 2009, 21.00 – 00.00
Dates: 18 June – 14 September, 2009

Monday – Friday 10.00 – 21.00
Saturday 10.00 – 15.00

Special Event

Warhol/Icon: The Creation of Image

07.10.09 - 10.01.10

Special Event 11

Byzantine & Christian Museum, Athens

The Byzantine & Christian Museum, Athens, presents the ground-breaking exhibition, Warhol/Icon: The Creation of Image. The exhibition brings together key portraits by Andy Warhol from across the entire range of his career, providing a telling critique of the modern obsession with fame, a concept which fascinated Warhol and which stands at the centre of his work.

Set against the backdrop of the world’s greatest collection of Byzantine icons, the exhibition of Warhol’s media-derived images of contemporary celebrities explores the idea of the iconic in his portraiture. Curated by the distinguished Warhol scholar Paul Moorhouse, the exhibition probes the enduring significance and value of the icon, connecting historic sacred antecedents with Warhol’s modern icons: images of the famous created in a celebrity-obsessed secular era.

Common to the historic and modern concepts of an icon, the idea of worship is a central link. Warhol’s work endorses, dissects – and employs – those processes by which a real person’s identity becomes progressively obscured by their glamorised, iconic representation in the mass-media. Highlights of the exhibition include portraits of Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Mao, and Warhol himself – all idealised figures whose ‘image’ transcends their private, personal identity.

Seen in the context of the Byzantine & Christian Museum’s historic icons, Warhol’s modern ‘icons’ are presented as the outcome of a complex metamor-phosis in which the real has been transformed into a complex but glorious abstraction.

The Byzantine & Christian Museum, Athens, was founded in 1914. The collection represents Greek art from the 4th to the 19th century and contains the world’s pre-eminent collection of Byzantine and post-Byzantine icons.

Exhibition Organizers: Potnia Thiron - Bank of Attention and Haunch of Venison

Opening: Tuesday 6 October 2009, 20.00 – 21.30
Dates: 7 October 2009 - 10 January 2010

Byzantine & Christian Museum
22 Vas. Sofias Avenue
10675 Athens

Maria Marshall

58 Days Later

06.05.09 - 11.06.09

58 days later 8

The internationally celebrated artist Maria Marshall (Bombay, 1966) will be presenting her new work in her second one-woman show, 58 Days Later, at Potnia Thiron. Although the artist has participated in a great many group and solo exhibitions around the world, this is the first time she has expressed herself in painting as well as film and photography.

Maria Marshall has won international recognition with her short films and photographs, and was selected by the Sundance Film Festival, America’s most important festival for independent cinema, as its central artist in January 2009. Her work is held in public and private collections around the world.

58 Days Later will include the film of the same name which was filmed in 16mm on the coast at Chennai, India, 58 days after December 26, 2004, when an enormous earthquake and subsequent tsunami brought untold death and destruction to the region.

The duality of her famous films of childhood resurfaces here: nature as a refuge (material and mental) but also as a terrifying force; idyllic images of the sea and the horizon which, rather than revealing the violence using visual means, imply its immanence by reminding us that good and evil are two sides of the same coin.

The show’s 58 painted works of varying dimensions relate directly to the film: seascapes whose tranquillity the discrete, but nonetheless significant, appearance of a spider is about to shatter. Similarly, her ten ‘glitter paintings’--series of horror film posters and images tinted with colour-- end up captivating the viewer.

The exhibition will be accompanied by the book 58 Days Later which Potnia Thiron published especially for the film in 2008 and presented at the Sundance Film Festival, and by an exhibition catalogue translated into seven languages. The artist will be attending the opening.

58 Days Later
Opening:Tuesday 05 May 2009, 20.00 – 23.00
Duration: 6 May – 11 June 2009

Monday-Friday 10:00 – 21:00
Saturday 10:00 – 15:00