|Title||Und. Athens||Posted in||Graphic Design, Art, Photography||Release Date||April 2017|
|Publisher||Kiriakos Spirou||ISBN||978-9963-2432-0-4||Price||8 euros|
It’s been a very busy opening for the summer season in Athens, with local galleries running at full throttle trying to keep up with the influx of visitors arriving in the city for documenta14 last month, as well as Art Athina now coming up at the end of May. While many visitors easily find their way to the big museums and well-known galleries, few are aware of the booming independent local art scene, comprised of around 40 alternative and non-profit spaces. Enter Und. Athens, a new art guide that seeks to promote and document the city’s alternative art scene, and help visitors discover emerging talent and new art spaces all around the city centre. Und. Athens was designed as an indispensable tool for art professionals and art lovers visiting Athens this season, with a particular focus on the alternative, the unusual and the emerging.
Designed by Greek designer Natassa Pappa and published by art writer and editor Kiriakos Spirou, the publication comes as a printed, foldable map that includes a directory with all the contemporary art venues in Athens together with suggestions about where to eat, what to see and which areas are worth exploring. An online journal also complements the printed edition with stories from the Athenian underground scene, including interviews, exhibition reviews and more. For the map’s design, Natassa Pappa divided the city into nine areas, each corresponding to a major Athenian neighbourhood: Kolonaki-Exarcheia, Ampelokipi-Neapoli, Kaisariani, Kipseli, Syntagma-Pagrati, Acropolis-Koukaki, Petralona, Metaxourgeio and the City Centre. Recommended art walks that run through these areas are highlighted on the map and accompanied by insider’s tips for each neighbourhood. The design is minimal and clear, with the intention of creating more of a diagram than a map whilst also conveying as much information as possible. Meanwhile, the font used is Averta, a bilingual Greek-English font designed by London-based designer Kostas Bartokas.
More than five months in the making, Und. Athens is the result of extensive research and mapping in Athens, with the objective of finding as many alternative art spaces in the city as possible. This research brought into the light a large network of creatives, who work mostly under the radar but many of whom are very active abroad, participating in projects and exhibitions. Take for example Daily Lazy, the new project space that just opened at the basement of Efimerida bar on Sina Street: its four founders are all artists based between Athens and New York, Berlin and elsewhere, and started the whole endeavour as a contemporary art blog before deciding to open an actual space. Another interesting story is that of SUPER, a semi-permanent project space opened by German artists in Votanikos, which then moved to Praxitelous street and has now extended its activities to Kassel.
Every blue number on Und. Athens’ map stands for an art venue in Athens, but at the same time is a whole cluster of stories and artistic collaborations waiting to be explored. Perhaps not surprisingly, there has been no official record of the independent art scene of Athens up to now, and only last month a coalition of 21 independent art spaces published their own map to coincide with the opening of documenta 14. Hopefully this is the beginning of a new era for the Athenian art scene, where local and emerging artists will receive more exposure and their creative ideas will be shared with and supported by more people visiting the Greek capital.
If you are seeking for more things to do while visiting the Greek capital check out Yatzer’s Athens City Experiences.