It’s pretty rare to go to an exhibition and to have the artist explain the whole concept and his thought process to you. That’s what happened to me the other day.
I was due to catch up with a brilliant artist friend of mine, Dimitris Fotiou so I casually asked if we should go to the Volanakis exhibition. Turns out they knew each other – hence the personal attention of the artist.
“The Holy Bachelorette in the Wedding Cave” continues Volanakis’s way of presenting works in a sufficiently interactive manner, inviting the visitor to touch, to sit, to create. There are a number of videos being projected of women answering very personal questions by other women. The responses are thoughtful, funny, incredibly sincere and very powerful. We sat on inflated balls in front of every video – mesmerised by some of the thoughts, someone’s accent, someone’s smile. One could say that some moments were almost pornographic in their sincerity.
There are wedding dresses suspended from the ceiling. If you go up close you realise that they are turned inside out – a study of the pieces of the dress that touch the body on the day of the wedding. The spots that come in contact with the bare skin, the background, the bits that we never see.
In a central spot, Ioanna Kalavrou sits at a loom and helps you weave a new textile from cut up wedding dresses. I guess as a way to touch, to think of the parallels between how we weave narratives, lives, common paths and finally new stories and personal histories. At the centre of it all, the thoughtful lighting design of Gerald Karlikow, creates a “breath” every 25 minutes. All the lights go out, all the videos stop and the loom gets illuminated before the whole “body” of the exhibition slowly returns to normal. Almost like a pulse.
I walked out of there with Dimitris, we sat down at the nice little cafe (great job by the Festival of Athens people) and we naturally started weaving our own little theories about memory and life and the things we deal with again and again.
Which is what great art should do to you I always think. Push you to recognise truths and patterns in your own life and the life of those around you.
Disclosure: No deals with the Festival or the people mentioned. As always.