The exhibition Primal Power takes place at the Merchant Marine Academy of the Greek island of Hydra. Participating artists: Marina Abramovic/Ulay, John Bock, Nathan Smith, Laercio Redondo, Frank Tjepkema, Zoe Gaitanidou, Harry Patramanis, Sotiris Bazianas, Marina Leonti and Dimitrios Antonitsis.
PRIMAL POWER | NEON Grants | Hydra School Projects
The Munchies Art club is thrilled to share with you this years Hydra School Projects group show titled Primal Power with the participating artists Marina Abramovic/Ulay (USA), John Bock (Germany), Nathan Smith (USA), Laercio Redondo (Brazil/Sweden), Frank Tjepkema (Netherlands), Zoe Gaitanidou (Greece), Harry Patramanis (Greece), Sotiris Bazianas (Greece), Marina Leonti ( Greece) and Dimitrios Antonitsis (Greece).
Established in 1999 by Dimitrios Antonitsis, the Hydra School Projects is a nonprofit foundation that organizes exhibitions and supports publications that explore the relationship between contemporary art and culture.
A catalog of the exhibition has been published in the form of a Greek school composition book.
For the 23rd edition of Hydra School Projects artist and curator Dimitrios Antonitsis presents a colorful mosaic of 11 Greek and international artists with the title Primal Power.
As Antonitsis explains:
“Primal Power is the research on the Primordial Laws of Creation. It showcases both the infallible basis for a comprehensive understanding of the world and the solid foundation for all right reforms, irrespective of sector.”
We present to you the artists:
MARINA ABRAMOVIC / ULAY
Marina Abramovic and Ulay (alias of Uwe Laysiepen) met in Amsterdam in 1975.
Their collaboration began the following year, arising from a common need to make daily life meet the practice of art.
The set of their themes originated within the collaboration itself, in the reciprocal relationship it implied, and in the relation that bound them both to their physical environment.
Challenging both their physical and mental limits, Marina Abramovic and Ulay undertook numerous initiatory trips with the intention of discovering different and mainly non-occidental cultures.
Focusing on the role of time in human relationships, the artists work in various media (performances, video set ups, polaroids) in order to complement one another as a fragment of a larger whole of multiple media.
In Imponderabilia (1977, reenacted in 2010) two performers, both completely nude, stand in a doorway. The public must squeeze between them in order to pass, and in doing so choose which one of them to face.
Dimitrios Antonitsis (b. 1966, Athens, Greece) lives and works on the island of Hydra and in Athens.
He studied mechanical engineering at the Zürich ETH and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute inTroy, New York (Master of Science), where he specialised in the high-speed microscopic photography of vortex rings.
He won an award for his short film Past Glories, Present Despondencies, a collaboration with Robert De Niro’s production company. His work has appeared in 15 solo and 55 group exhibitions in Greece and abroad.
He established the Hydra School Projects, a global contemporary art platform; every year since 2000, it hosts innovative works by foreign and Greek artists on Hydra.
In the 1990s, in the midst of the AIDS pandemic, and long before gender identity issues gained the broad acceptance they enjoy today, Dimitrios Antonitsis addressed the theme of sexuality as it related to the self-determination of the ‘other’ and the other’s position in society.
He thus addressed issues that were controversial for the time and tackled their extreme version through images of social groups that even now remain marginalised. Irritated by conventions, he would abandon this subject matter when he felt it was turning into spectacle.
However, concepts already emerging at that time such as physicality, disguise, the meeting of familiar and unfamiliar, ambiguity and the search for the spontaneous, remain and grant his work an inner cohesion.
In 2010, Antonitsis turned to sculpture as a sharp metaphor for Western values such as over-performance, social power, and luxurious consumption.
His work can be found in various collections including EMST –National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens; MOMus-Museum of Modern Art-Costakis Collection (former State Museum of Contemporary Art), Thessaloniki; DESTE Foundation, Athens; Fondazione per la Fotografia, Turin; Benedikt Taschen Collection, Cologne; and the Fiorucci Art Trust, London. Antonitsis has been represented by the Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center since 2007.
Akis Batzianas was born in Nicosia, Cyprus and works as a visual artist, based in Athens, Greece.
He graduated from the Athens School of Fine Arts. Akis’ artistic repertoire includes painting, graphic arts and animation.
Major themes in his work include dreams, the subconscious, sexuality, religion, science and his closest personal relationships.
In Adoration of the Magi and the Rest of the Motley Crew, 2020, Batzianas features many elements that are to become characteristic of his imagery including dreamlike landscapes, precise draftsmanship, idiosyncratic iconography (such as melancholic color palette or dismembered puppets).
His paintings provoke bemusement but also strong sexual symbolism.
His work was presented in Walking Practices / Walking Art /Walking Bodies Conference in 2019 at Prespes with the University of Western Macedonia.
He has participated in Rooms 2020 group exhibition (Kappatos Gallery), Platforms Project 2020, «TerraIn-Cognita» (PIOP), «COVEN: Witchcraft for Love Politics» at FAC Research Athens and in «Catageios Project: Exploring Rare Mystifications - An Optical Essay on Contemporary Chthonian Sublime» (Calabria, Italy) curated by Faye Tzanetoulakou.
John Bock (born in 1965 in Gribbohm, Germany) studied sculpture at the Hochshule für Bildende Künste (HfBK), Hamburg, West Germany. Reconciling elements of Dada, Happenings, Fluxus, and European Actionism, his artistic practice can be understood through the tripartite lens of lectures, installation environments, and audience participation.
Bock is known for his lectures that parody academic activity, which he enacts in impermanent environments crafted from household objects, detritus, furniture, wood, and other generally inexpensive and often found items.
Although an admirer of Joseph Beuys, Bock does not intend to teach his viewers but rather to engage them in an experiential and reciprocal relationship.
However, his incomprehensible language and actions frustrate any clearly prescribed exchange, serving as a wider metaphor for the precarious communication between contemporary artist and audience.
The lectures are accompanied by the wearing of costumes, sewn or knitted together; gestures; and spontaneously drawn diagrams and illustrations of the performance, further creating a deliberately absurdist, or to use the artist’s term, “a-logical” atmosphere.
Bock has had solo exhibitions at: Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin(1998); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2000). His work has been shown in group exhibitions at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center (nowMoMA PS1), New York (1999–2000); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2005); the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2007–08, 2010); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2009); Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (2009); and the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (2011). He has participated in numerous biennials, including the Venice Biennale (1999, 2005, 2013); Documenta, Kassel, Germany (2002); Performa, New York (2007); and Sydney Biennial (2010). In 2006, he was named a finalist for the Hugo Boss Prize.
Zoi Gaitanidou (b.1981, Athens,Greece) is a graduate of the Athens School of Fine Arts and has also studied in Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. She is currently based between Athens and the island of Sifnos, Greece. In 2019/2020 she was a fellow of ARTWORKS Fellowship program supported by the Stavros Niarhos Foundation.
Gaitanidou is using embroidery to create elaborate tapestries that combine abstract patterns with figurament elements resulting in an intensity that recalls tribal art.
Tropical foliage is a recurrent element in her work, which as art critic Roberta Smith has remarked “is reminiscent of a naive derivative of neo-expressionism that also evokes a contemporary take of the topical vision of Henry Rousseau”.
Selected exhibitions include: Mr Robinson Crusoe stayed home, Adventures of design in times of crisis, Benaki Museum Athens, Greece (2021), Group show at Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Thessaloniki, Greece (2020), Weavings: Painting and tapestry in Greece from 1960 to present, Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece (2019), Clarity solo exhibition at the Breeder, Athens, Greece (2017), The Equilibrists, Benaki Museum, Athens, organized by the New Museum, NY and DESTE Foundation Athens, curated by Gary Carion Murayiari, Helga Christophensen with Massimiliano Gioni (2016), Heaven 2nd Athens Biennale, Athens.
Marina Leonti (born in Athens, 1996) graduate of Athens School of Fine Arts.
Her current work refers to discoveries of an aquatic oasis.
Showcasing 6 sculptures from her last installation ̈Niphalia ̈ based on a storyline during a sunset on the horizon of the sea.
Primitive structures, living creatures and corroded objects are merged with the imaginary and the unknown of an underwater scenery.
Through her practice, common reality and everyday subjects are interpreted in a playful way.
Harry Patramanis was born in Athens (1967), Greece and studied film at the Munich Film School. His thesis film ‘Frankie’ was selected to screen at prestigious film festivals throughout Europe and won best German short film for that year launching his career as filmmaker. He is now a member of the DGA and the ISG.
Harry has traveled the world making visionary projects for commercials and film. His extensive advertising work has received nods at the Cannes Lions, Epica Awards, London International Awards, and the New York Festivals Advertising Awards, among others.
His first feature film, “Fynbos” (2012) was shot entirely in South Africa. It won the Vision Award for Photography at the Slamdance Film Festival, played at the Durban International Film Festival, and the Berlin International Film Festival.
“Departures / Αναχωρήσεις” (2016), a dual-channel film environment, with music by Coti K., was shot in Eero Saarienen’ s East Terminal of Ellinikon Airport of Athens.
The installation was exhibited as part of [OUT] TOPIAS at the Benaki Museum, Gestalt at Hydra School Projects, Integral I at the IleanaTounta Contemporary Art Center, and Root Gallery in New York.
The video “Kiss”, (2017) was shown as part of the exhibition on Forever Young / 20 Years of Hydra School Projects.
“Happiness” is his latest artwork for the current edition of Hydra School Projects. It is shot entirely inside a huge photo bubble where dogs were left roaming free while toys kept falling from “heaven”.
Patramanis has been noted for extensive use of flat space camera moves, symmetrical compositions, slow zooms and slow-motion shots. These stylistic choices give his imagery a highly distinctive quality that has provoked much discussion on both the depiction of architecture/space and relationships/inner life.
Patramanis’ video art is marked by more serious or melancholic elements, with themes often centered on loss, dystopia and unlikely juxtapositions.
Laercio Redondo is a Brazilian-born artist and in his artistic research he engages extensively with collective memory and its erasure in society. His work is often based on the interpretation of specific events in relation to the city, architecture, and historical representation.
He is the recipient of various grants, among them the Akademie Schloss Solitude fellowship in Stuttgart and the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, USA.
His solo exhibitions include The Phantom Collection, Södertälje Konsthall (2021), The simplest thing is the hardest to do, Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, Barcelona (2020), Recast, Pinacoteca de São Paulo(2018); Past projects for the Future at Dallas Contemporary (2016);What ends every day at Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro(2015).
He has participated in numerous group exhibitions such as Mies in Mind, Galleri Nordenhake, Berlin (2021), Josephine Baker & Le Cor-busier in Rio – a Transatlantic Affair 2014, Museu de Arte do Rio de Janeiro; Idea di Frattura – Opinione Latina, Galleria Francesca Minini, Milan (2014); Love and hate to Lygia Clark, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw (2013); The right to the city, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, (2013).
His work is featured in collections such as Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden, Fundació Mies van der Rohe, Barcelona, Spain, Museu de Arte do Rio, Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Pinacotecado Estado de São Paulo, and the Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo.
Nathan Smith (born in Arizona, 1987) had an international up-bringing in England and Malaysia before moving to Kansas and then New York, where he attended Bard College and double-majored in anthropology and philosophy (2009).
More recently, he completed an MA at the University of Chicago with a thesis focusing on the role of propaganda and collage in the decolonial and environmental movements in contemporary North America (2020).
Between these academic stints, and to support his art, activism, and travels, he has worked various jobs, most notably as a native-plants landscape designer as well as a journalist and editor for environmental activist publications.
He is currently an award-winning teacher of first-year writing at the University of Chicago, where he works with students of social theory, religion, and world literature.
His creative work is utopian at heart and attempts to bridge the social and the ecological through abstraction and immediatism—especially through an investigation of post-Euclidean and post-Cartesian models of space. He has shown abstract films at New York Anthology Film Archives and published poems in the Cafe Review. This is his first show of visual work.
Frank Tjepkema (born 1970) is a Dutch designer based in Amsterdam. He works in interior design, architecture, product design, visual design and jewellery.
He is most known for his collections, Bronze Age, Future Nostalgia, Clockwork Love, and his interior design projects. In2014, at the Amsterdam Light Festival, he installed Light Bridge on a bridge along the Amstel river that received considerable media attention.
Frank commends on Recession Chair Oxidized:
“Receding is the act of withdrawing and diminishing. We were interested in exploring the visual impact of receding in relation to a design object. We took a popular mass produced chair and started sanding it to the finest possible version. The result is a process where the chair goes from normal, to diminished, to skeleton like.
The resulting object looks as if it won’t withstand the weight of the person it’s supporting, yet the bronze casting provides the necessary strength for it to serve as a functional”.
Tjepkema is the founder and principal of Tjep., a design studio in Amsterdam.