Art Space Pythagorion, Samos, GR
16 July - 31 Aug 2015
Katarzyna Sobucka was one of the curatorial fellows, working on a public programme accompanying 'Hotel Marina Lučica' by Aleksandra Domanovic.
The Art Space Pythagorion opened in 2012 with an exhibition by artist Harun Farocki. A former hotel from the 1970s, it was extensively renovated by local architects Peni Petrakou and Stelios Loulourgas for this purpose and converted into a modern exhibition space. With its unique location directly on the harbour of Pythagorion, it offers a magnificent backdrop. But this "white cube" is also meant to be understood as a symbolic place. The view from the building looks out over the nearby Turkish mainland, thus revealing the border between the Orient and the Occident. In the Art Space Pythagorion, curated exhibitions by international contemporary artists are presented annually during the summer months, parallel to the Samos Young Artists Festival.
The Art Space Pythagorion is an initiative of the Schwarz Foundation based in Munich.
Aleksandra Domanović, “Hotel Marina Lučica.”
Personal and public histories often meld in the work of Aleksandra Domanović (b. 1981, Novi Sad). Questioning the idea of an inflexible, concrete historical timeline, the artist herself becomes the impetus and the vehicle for the historical inquiry that guides her practice. Her works in sculpture, video, photography and installation engage with the often unmentioned or unrealized politics which shape contemporary society.
"Hotel Marina Lučica" collects artworks made over the past five years, including a number of new commissions, which examine the lead-up and repercussions of the dissolution of former Yugoslavia – where Domanović was born and grew up. The exhibition takes its title from a former resort located on the Croatian coast. The "Hotel Marina Lučica" is remembered and redeployed by Domanović, who spent a summer there with her family just before the outbreak of civil war. By 1992, less than two years later, the resort had been repurposed as a recruitment center for Croatian soldiers, and later used as refugee housing throughout the Yugoslav Wars. Since the late 1990s the hotel has sat vacant, gathering graffiti.
Just inside gallery's entrance is a digitally rendered portrait of Josip Broz Tito – the former autocratic leader of Yugoslavia. Portraits of Tito were hung in most public buildings – governmental offices, schools and also hotels. In Portrait (Bump Map), 2011, the masculine personification of nation-building, and the watchful guardian of its citizens, has been ‘feminized’. Tito's features have been softened and combined with the artist's memory of her childhood school teacher. A portrait of Tito would have likely hung above the receptionist's desk at the Hotel Marina Lučica.
Here the Hotel Marina Lučica and Art Space Pythagorian – also a former beachside resort – are mapped onto each other, creating an environment that blurs the sites of exhibiting art with sites of hospitality. Hotels and museums share the common promise of affording their visitors new, sometimes profound, experiences. Acting as cultural ambassadors, the two entities increasingly benefit in tandem from globetrotting artists and audiences, who exhibit in and patronize exhibitions the world over. Domanović's exhibition reframes this boon as one marred by economic inequality and sociopolitical strife, using the Hotel as a metaphor for the tentative, selective and often revisionist history of the former Yugoslavia.
"Hotel Marina Lučica" makes reference to the ongoing dilemma of shaping national and personal identities through modes of culture, while investigating how these modes of culture are shared. Along with Domanović's reimagined portrait of Tito, three videos focusing on the diverse dimensions of Yugoslav history are on view; as well as sculptures featuring imagery of the Hotel Marina Lučica; a reconstructed version of the illuminated sign that sat atop the portico of the hotel before it fell into disuse; a sound installation which traverses the former lobby of the institution; an outdoor chess set which makes reference to the monumental public sculpture that once dotted the Yugoslav landscape; moreover, there will be an expanded exhibition guide with a text by the Croatian author Boris Dežulović, as well as detailed information on the hotel and its surroundings.
On August 6th 2015, a panel discussion took place at Art Space Pythagorion at 8 pm, with the participants Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev (Curator, 14th Istanbul Biennial; Director of Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art and GAM Torino), Andrea Lissoni (Senior Curator International Art (Film), Tate Modern, London), Susanne Pfeffer (Director Fridericianum, Kassel), Paul Pieroni (Senior Curator at the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow) and Andreas Angelidakis (artist, curator, architect & teacher). Topics such as the restructuring of Europe, immigration issues, migration processes and the meaning and function of the arts will be discussed within this context.
Curator: Dr. Andrea Lukas
Curatorial Fellows June - August 2015: Klea Charitou, Angeliki Kounava, Post Brothers