ETERNAL RETURNS

ETERNAL RETURNS

Curated by Astria Suparak
Sync Curatorial Residency, Athens, Greece
2019 (unrealized)

Artists: Maria Antelman, Natasa Biza, Costa-Gavras, Nausica Pastra, Georges Salameh, Iris Touliatou, Twin Automat, Eirini Vourloumis

 

In the Syntagma metro station, the security guard booth abuts a wall embedded with tombs from 4th century BCE to 1st c. CE. A Plaka gift shop’s glass floor reveals 2nd c. Hadrian stone walls and their 3rd c. post-Roman additions. A mid-20th c. modernist government building, now luxury hotel, snuggles around a 16th c. church. An insurance company’s basement contains an air-raid shelter and a cinema; The first requisitioned in the 1940s by Nazis for a detention center, the second patronized by them during shift breaks. Derelict buildings from various eras abound. And above all, a stoic Acropolis overlooks the city. 

The past is interleaved with the present in Athens. It is adjacent, surfaced over, partially recreated, approximated, romanticized, and forgotten. History can be pieced together millennia later by archaeologists, embodied in traditions passed down from parent to child, and reshaped by artists. Each of these versions is adapted with contemporary materials and technologies, with biases and agendas.

Time is not linear, but layered and looping back. There are no distinct endings, no clear deaths. Ghosts of the past imbue the now, worlds intersect, Greece was colonizer and colonized, and lessons are learned, or more than likely, not. How do you imagine yourself in a site from which you’ve always been barred? How does it feel to build your home from the rubble of another? How long does it take for someone or something to be considered native?

This exhibition is about living with history in the here and now and the distillations we carry into the future. These artists are meticulous researchers, utilizing chemistry, botany, math, religion, politics, and bureaucracy. They explore possibilities, capture turmoil and fallow periods, track displacement and migrations. And once again, new lives are born of old.

The title of this exhibition, Eternal Returns, comes from the theory of eternal recurrence, in which the universe, life, and energy reoccur. Variations of this concept are found in many time periods, religions, and across all continents, with origins in the ancient worlds of India, Mesoamerica, Egypt, and Greece.

– Αστρια Σουπα’ρακ

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RELATED PROGRAMMING

Thursday, February 28, 2019, 19:00 doors, 19:30 conversation:
A-DASH, 74 Asklipiou Street, Athens
Join us for the launch of Sync Curatorial Fellowship over drinks and conversation with inaugural fellow Astria Suparak. Astria will give a brief introduction to her work and speak about her research and experience of being in Athens for two months.

 

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