Onassis Cultural Centre: Diplareios School, Plateia Theatrou, Athens, Greece
Strange Cities Athens
Visualising Athens Unseen
20 April – 31 July 2015
An exhibition inspired solely by non-visual references of the city of Athens.
Double Decker invited 25 award-winning visual artists, none of whom had visited Athens, to create new pieces in response to the city, inspired by a box of non-visual elements. Strongly contemporary works colonised the aesthetically dilapidated exhibition venue, offering up a series of encounters with painting, installation, graphic art and digital interactions from which the dazzled visitor emerged with a new perception of their own city. By working closely with the OCC team, Double Decker ensured that ‘Strange Cities: Athens’ was one of the Centre’s most successful exhibitions, attracting over 8,000 visitors, and was supported by a rich programme of engaging talks, workshops and activities.
The exhibition was installed in the Diplareios Building, constructed in 1932 to be Greece’s flagship design school but now a ghostly, dilapidated presence in the heart of the city, in a neighbourhood steeped in history and the unexpected. Inevitably then, the experience of Strange Cities: Athens began in the building’s cultural neighbourhood, before the viewer even reached the threshold.
Whatever country my words may evoke around you, you will see it from a vantage point like yours.
– Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino (p. 27) Translation: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Vintage Classics, 1997.
Double Decker provided each artist with a cache of non-visual clues, including Yorgos Seferis’ poem ‘Jasmine’, a vintage popular song (‘A Magical City’ by Manos Hadjidakis), ‘2’ (a contemporary piece of instrumental music by Konstantinos Vita), a recipe for stuffed tomatoes (beloved by Athenians), excerpts from ‘Single Line Athens’ (Petros Markaris’ reflections on Athens through its old electric train line) and a field-recorded soundtrack of the city. No visual research was allowed.
Adam Dix (UK), Alexander Egger (Germany), Amy Friend (Canada), Angela Moore (UK), Craig Redman & Karl Maier (UK, USA), Daniel Gotesson (Sweden), Emma Lofstrom (Sweden), Eva Roovers (The Netherlands), Eva Stenram (Sweden), Fernanda Rappa (Brazil), Jarmila Mitríková & David Demjanovic (Check Republic), Jesse Treece (USA), John Diebel (USA), Joris Vandecatseye (Belgium), Kakofonia (Brazil), Kazuhiro Hoshimoto (Japan), Kit Miles (UK), Michael Mann (Germany), Peter Judson (UK), Ryan Russo (USA), Seb Jarnot (France), Tom Radclyffe (UK), Thomas Robson (UK).
Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens: Afroditi Panagiotakou
Spacelab Architecture: Sotiris Hainis, Vana Krimnioti
25 photographers, painters, graphic artists, illustrators & interactive designers from 11 countries
90 artworks in various media
Exhibition opening attended by 3,500 visitors
8,000 visitors in total
30 wraparound programmes & workshops
Strange Cities: Athens Entrance
Strange Cities: Athens Entrance
Entrance - Egkania C Christos Tzimas
Craig Redman & Karl Maier
Ekta / Daniel Götesson
Jarmila Mitríková & David Demjanovic
Pop-up Photo Studio
The Diplareios Building
Opening Eve - Photograph by Egkainia C Stavros Petropoulos