“A History of Revolutions”
Greek Cultural Heritage Inspires Contemporary Artistic Design
A Group Exhibition of 64 creators
Athens, June – October 2023
This exhibition presents the recent work of 31 esteemed Greek and International artists, 5 instructors and 28 students from Greek public silversmithing institutes, inspired by heirlooms of the Greek cultural heritage. Starting point for inspiration are artifacts displayed in the recent exhibition at the ILJMuseum “Form Follows Function 200+200” *. The historic reminiscent of the 1821 revolution becomes the vehicle for a new interpretation of jewelry, sculptures and other decorative arts.
Most of the modern developed world looks upon revolutions which provide an experience that has irrevocably contributed to the socio-political image of today. The concept of revolution is identified with the attempt to overthrow a regime through the mass mobilization of the community, with the aim of fundamental political, economic, and social change. The Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire was a cataclysmic event which, however, gave birth to a new nation-state: Modern Hellas, simply known as ‘Greece’ at the present time. It was an all-out war fought both on land and at sea, a valiant struggle in the name of freedom, justice and, as a corollary, modernity. As such, it harnessed the resources of a deep-rooted tradition of liberal thinking and cultural expression.
In this exhibition contemporary creators are empowered with the dynamism of the Greek revolution of 1821, chose artifacts, and recreate them reflecting both the historic events and contemporary social issues of repression. Aphrodite Liti, concentrates on the value of the Greek revolution paying her respects to those that suffered and fought for liberation. Her sculptures are dynamic and well-constructed with a monumental excellence that usually characterizes the entirety of her work.
MOTTOS, HEROINES AND EVENTS
The original objects of material culture are not just a source of inspiration for new creations. They trigger a personal, inner search and artistic expression. An imaginative journey through history and tradition which leads to the discovery of new forms, drawing from the totality of culture expressed in a defining period for Greece and the world.
Historic mottos, men and women heroes of the revolution, literature that hymn courage and glory, events and traditions, traditional costumes, and jewelry tinder the flame for new creativity. The slogan of the Greek Revolution Freedom or Death incarnates on the neckpiece of Yiota Vogli. Using leather and textiles she colors the words on the front and back parts of the jewel, becoming a theme in the perpetual movement of a necklace. Body pieces inspired by Greek traditional jewelry, such as the tsaprazi, katostara or kiousteki, connect material culture with the perception of semiotics of the revolution. The work of Sofia Zarari reflects the history of women’s struggles, inspired by Laskarina Bouboulina, emphasizing the female presence of the ’21 era. Zarari, completed her work and dressed three women from different cultures, making her piece an amulet for modern female struggles. Similarly, Nicole Polentas, ‘Blood Revolt’, explores the complexity and ideologies of social and political revolutions, across time, through the abstraction and subversion of texts and symbols. The large and very heavy necklace made of metals, porcelain and clay adds to the multi-dimensional image of the revolution, the breath of modern applied creation.
TECHNICAL NOVELTIES AND ARTISTIC MERIT
A work of art leaves its mark when it’s original. This is marked by the novelties it presents in terms of form and concept. Moreso, when it is governed by freedom in the use of its materials, the application of techniques, and is distinguished for its uniqueness and semiotics, adding artistic value to the whole of its composition. This is evident in the work of Artemis Valsamaki, who fastens a jewel on a vest inspired by the French table clocks of the 1840’s. Other established artists, for their compositions, invent new techniques or enrich mainstream traditional practices. Sofia Bahlava and Vasilis Stamoulis, replace the usual metals used for the traditional costume belts of the 18th and 19th centuries with combined layered textiles. Furthermore, the belt’s orientation changes to intrigue the viewer. Its design is not observed only on the outer but also on the inner surface of the band. The text which has been sewn reads, In the One That I Hope. We also find a paradox in the work of Elli Xippa who uses blue hunting cartridges to form two large necklaces. She explains that her works are symbols of peace, and that weaponry should only be used as raw materials for art works.
While established artists perform unique fashions, the students in the exhibition utilize their newly acquired knowledge of traditional silversmithing. With individual works or collectives, the students have found this opportunity to think out of the box concerning forms and on occasion the use of materials.
Innovation is demonstrated throughout this exhibition. After all, the development in the technologies of contemporary studio jewelry embraces all materials but keeps as fundamentals the art of silver and goldsmithing, as well as the creativity of the designer. Large pins, polymorphic body jewelry, vests, neckpieces, table objects, and sculptures are only some types of artistic interest. For their construction obvious or unexpected materials are chosen. Precious metals, paper, textiles, clay, wood, dried fruit, embroidery threads, silk fabrics and even family heirlooms from family chests were opened and utilized. Different materials add to a rich palette of colors. Viewers must read the labels to confirm metals, gems or fabrics, organic and recycled materials. The brooch of Maria Koutmani (10) treats wood, metals, felt, and her own made colored paper to construct a modern ‘palaska’; a bullet case which was functional for the heroes of the revolution but also a protective amulet for the course of their combats. Niki Stylianou (24) finds another reason to experiment with original materials and forms. Her starting point is reform as the outcome of social revolutions, which as they are embedded in history and time, come in cycles that often reflect our inner revolts. As Stylianou, believes in bloodless revolutions, she uses her pieces as the vehicle for influence challenging the viewer with the use of bizarre materials such as aluminum, laminated paper jewelry tags, and safety pins.
This temporary exhibition ends a cycle of events, inextricably linked to the theme of the historical exhibition, but without completing it. Emerging issues that have impacted historical and recent global cultural, aesthetic, and artistic practices have consciously inspired the artists in this exhibition. Participating creators have focused on interpreting understandings of nationhood, tradition, gender, and body to critically center the past with the contemporary moment. The exhibition develops the concept of thinking historically in the present by adopting a working methodology that privileges the role of intuition and incidence.
30 YEARS OF CULTURAL EDUCATION
Completing 30 years of operation, ILJM continues to aim in preserving and promoting the art of historic and contemporary jewelry and decorative arts. As an international hub the museum remains at the service of the community, supporting education and research, projecting contemporary design, and defending creativity and innovation in our country’s artistic production.
*The catalogue of this exhibition is available at the Museum Shop and the Research Library.
ΜOUSTAKOUDES MARI ZOE
PUBLIC VOCATIONAL TRAINING INSTITUTES OF SILVERSMITHING JEWELRY MAKING
PUBLIC VOCATIONAL TRAINING INSTITUTE OF METAXOURGEIO
KRIKOU ALEXANDRA, Instructor
ZOIDAKI EVGENIA, Instructor
MANIKAS DIMITRIS, Student
MITROU KONSTANTINA, Student
MOSCHOU ARETI, Student
PAPAGIANNI ALKISTIS, Student
PEKLARI HARA, Student
ZIOGA DEMETRA, Student
PUBLIC VOCATIONAL TRAINING INSTITUTE OF NEA SMYRNI
GANIDOU TASSA, Instructor
KRIKOU ALEXANDRA, Instructor
GIONI AFERDITA, Student
GOUNARI GIOTA, Student
KARVOUNI IOULIA, Student
KOUKA RAFAELA, Student
PARTALIS GIORGOS, Student
ZORBA LAMBRINA, Student
PUBLIC VOCATIONAL TRAINING INSTITUTE OF RETHYMNO
KALLERGI EMMANOUELA, Student
KAPETANAKI EUANTHIA, Student
PLEVRI NIKOLETTA, Student
PSISTAKI HAROULA, Student
VRONDAKI GEORGIA, Student
PUBLIC VOCATIONAL TRAINING INSTITUTE OF STEMNITSA
CHRISTAKI OURANIA, Instructor
BARDAKI EVANGELIA, Student
HELIOTI ANGELIKI, Student
KOUNDOUROUPAKI MAGDALINI, Student
KRANIOTI IOANNA, Student
PAPADOPOULOU ISMINI, Student
PRAMANDIOTI AMALIA, Student
SKAVARAS KONSTANTINOS, Student
VRIONI MARINA, Student
VOCATIONAL APPRENTICESHIP SCHOOL OF PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT SERVICE OF OREOKASTRO
HATZITHEODOROU THEODORA, Instructor
THALASSI EFTHALIA, Instructor
KOSTANOGLOU EUDOXIA, Student
KOUTAS MARIOS, Student
MAGOPOULOU IOANNA, Student
TSAPAKIDIS NIKOLAOS, Student
VLACHOU ROXANI, Student
THE HEIRLOOOMS FROM TRADITIONAL GREEK ART OF THE 19TH CENTURY ARE LENT BY:
THE ETHNOLOGICAL AND FOLKLORE MUSEUM OF CHRISSO – ELIAS E. DARADIMOS COLLECTION
ΚΑΤΕΡΙΝΑ ΚORRΕ – ZOGRAFOU COLLECTION
ILIAS LALAOUNIS JEWELRY MUSEUM PERMANENT COLLECTION
THE EXHIBITION IS ORGANIZED BY THE CURATORIAL DEPARTMENT OF THE ILIAS LALAOUNIS JEWELRY MUSEUM
WITH THE SUPPORT OF