|18 March 2016 to 17 April 2016
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The contemplation of the eternal concept of Paradise is the theme of the extraordinary exhibition which is inaugurating the new, multi-functional venue, Pirée, a site which is breathing new life into the formerly derelict St. Dionyssios quarter in the port town of Piraeus. For Greek artist, George Vaviloussakis, who is both participating in and curating the exhibition which will run until April 17th, 2016, this is the punctuating culmination of many years of deliberation. “I had some generalized ideas regarding the aesthetic approach I desired for the exhibit as well as the selection of artists I wanted to participate,” George shared with us. “Moreover, I wished for the whole project to be done in an unconventional manner. So, when the specific space was offered to me, I thought that the time had come to bring the idea of Paradise into existence.”
Pirée, the space in question, is also the result of years of careful consideration and visionary planning on the part of architect Kosmas Karavas and his design and architecture company, “Lab 71 Kosmas Karavas.” “I wanted to create a living cell of artistic creativity & expression. A location of ‘pathos’ & liberation,” says Kosmas. Hence, this ex-industrial building that was once a foundry has been transformed into a destination where artists are allowed to explore their creative impulses and, furthermore, share these results with a public that’s craving for this influence.
Indeed, Pirée is a revolutionary creative platform that intends to become a hub for every type of cultural event—from art and design showrooms, to pop-up exhibitions, and from live events such as music performances, to design shops—integrating all forms of artistic expression in the arts and design. “Paradise is a concept that everyone interprets differently, just like art,” Kosmas shares when we ask him why he thought it fitting to inaugurate Pirée with the Paradise exhibition. “For me it means freedom of expression, liberation, recreation; concepts which are linked & perfectly reflect Pirée,” he says.
When the fifteen participating artists were asked to depict their own contemporary definitions of paradise, they were given the freedom to explore this timeless topic through any means and medium that expressed them best. The results are as varied as each artist’s reflections, to name but a few, the extraordinary examples we’ll site are Martha Dimitropoulou’s Chandelier created out of pine needles, Pantelis Chandris’ Exuvia mylar foil sculpture, and Vasso Gavaisse’s film AL, and paper and plexiglass Queen Spade installation.
“We have all ascribed an ideal situation to ourselves that we dare to call our own private paradise,” George Vaviloussakis shares. “What we’re basically negotiating here is life as a means to transcend from the corruption of our existence; a mature ideal condition that refers to respecting our nature and not just our survival,” he introspectively replied when we asked him to describe the subject of the exhibit. “For me, respecting the nature of man, his needs and the surrounding “frame” to these is where I meet my own. Harmony with nature is of vital importance,” he continues.
The venue has helped shape the exhibit by not separating its viewers from the art but, rather, bringing the art into the space that the viewers inhabit, melding the experience with the presentation. “[Pirée’s] space is very special but also very particular,” George agreed. “The rough surfaces and its general visual structure were a challenge but, on the other hand, the familiarity of the workshop-like space, with the visible structural elements, was an element that was integrated into the theme.” The result took advantage of the conditions and structured the exhibition so that it’s in perfect and continuous dialogue with its environment.
Kosmas Karavas shares that one of his ultimate goals in the creation of Pirée is to: “Redefine every possible form of art and expression as the epitome of everyday life, in a space open to all, a free thinking zone.” And the exceptional Paradise exhibition may just be the perfect launch from which to achieve this aspiration.