Viewing the credit crunch as nothing but a bottomless pit of inspiration, Art Athina is back with a vengeance, ready to reclaim the art-loving crowd’s undivided attention. Having clocked in 18,000 visitors last time around, the fair is looking to embrace a much larger audience by lowering entry fees and shooting for the sky. Although broadening its 25-50 demographic is not going to be easy, the organizers’ first policy is honesty, a quality that the Greek public has come to appreciate: ''This year’s edition is set to be quite moving,'' says guest curator Marina Fokidis, in charge of parallel events along withArtemis Potamianou. ''Let’s not kid ourselves, the commercial prospect will certainly be challenging, but it’s important to make our presence felt in the face of adversity. We want people to leave their problems behind and join us in this beautiful illusion, even if it’s just for three days. Besides, isn’t that one of art’s main functions?''
So whether you’re looking for a little escapism or scouting for potential additions to your private collection, Art Athina 2013promises to be a slice of heaven: 45 galleries from Greece and abroad will be showcasing their protégés, 12 renowned international art personalities will be putting their curatorial methodologies under the microscope and 46 collective platform initiatives will be mapped out, making for a total of some 800 artists.
Yianna Grammatopoulou, president of the Hellenic Art Galleries Association, which launched Art Athina in 1993 believes that this year’s event will definitely be a group effort. She does however single out the Anna Pappas Gallery, a dynamic new entry from Australia which is set to leave its mark on the fair with a rather sizable pavilion to house the large number of artworks on display.
As hindsight is 20/20 vision, Art Athina wouldn’t be the same without recognizing its past. And so this year’s edition will pay tribute to historical Greek gallery Desmos, one of the first visual arts spaces to host conceptual work, installations and performances in the country, with a significant influence in the development of Greek contemporary art in the 22 years of its life cycle.
Local favorites, like the trailblazing Rebecca Camhi Gallery who first introduced Greeks to pioneering photographer Nan Goldin, will be checking in with enfant terribles Angelo Plessas and Konstantin Kakanias, while the eclectic gallery ofAngeliki Antonopoulou will be representing Beetroot’s well-traveled Monsters and Iliodora Margellos’ powerful brushstrokes.
It looks like this year’s Art Athina is not just going to be about art, it’s going to be about solidarity. Now that’s something worth toasting. Cheers!
Art Athina / 16 to 19 May 2013, Faliron Pavilion Athens, Greece.