National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens: ”Time in my hands”, the retrospective exhibition for Leda Papaconstantinou

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”Time in my hands” represents the first ever major retrospective exhibition for Leda Papaconstantinou (b. 1945), one of the most important artists in the history of contemporary art in Greece. For over almost five decades, Papaconstantinou developed a diverse body of work that took on a range of forms – performance, sculpture, video, site-specific installations, painting, etc. – in order to explore issues of gender, sexuality, collective and personal memory, history, politics and ecology, centred always on the body. As a trailblazing feminist artist and one of the most important artists of her generation, Papaconstantinou’s work is a seminal reference point for the Greek art scene and serves as an inspiration for subsequent generations of artists.

From the 1960s onwards, at a time of social and cultural radicalism, Papaconstantinou was one of the first artists to experiment with the then-emerging medium of performance art. Her first iconoclastic performances, carried out during her studies in England, investigate the construction of gender, identity and the female subject, through a feminist perspective that challenges patriarchal structures and other hierarchical relationships of power. The exhibition includes her films and performances from the 1968–1971 period, her first installations in Greece in the 1970s and 1980s, the 1975–1979 community theatre group “Spetses Players”, and her large-scale video installations of recent years. It aims to showcase and reframe pertinent issues within her art practice concerning gender, identity, the social dimension of the artwork, memory, and the relationship between discourse and corporality.

The exhibition is an appraisal of her entire oeuvre, bringing together for the first time a large number of installations, paintings, sculptures, audio-visual and audio works, as well as rare and unpublished photographic and textual archival documents and traces of her performances, highlighting the importance and timely character of her practice, in its own time but also today. The title Time in my Hands derives from the site-specific installation of the same name, created by the artist in 2010 for the Monastiraki Metro station, which was based on a photograph of the video entitled The Arrows are of Eros, and projected onto a wall of the Ottoman baths of Bey Hamam in Thessaloniki.

Curator: Tina Pandi


Leda Papaconstantinou (1945, Ambelonas, Larissa) lives and works on the island of Spetses. She created the first performances and installations in Greece and her work is characterised by a consistent investigation into female identity with special focus on the body. Through her multifaceted artistic practice, Papaconstantinou reasserted issues around desire, sexuality, and collective and personal memory, deploying art as a lever for social, political, and ecological thinking. Between 1962–1965, Papaconstantinou studied Graphic Design at the Doxiadis Athens Technological Institute and completed the foundation course at the Athens School of Fine Arts in 1965–1966. She then moved to London to study Fine Arts at the Loughton College of Art (1967–1968) and at the Maidstone College of Art (Kent Institute of Art & Design) 1968–1971. During this time, she also carried out her first performances and film performance works. After returning to Greece in 1971, she had her first solo exhibition at the Ora Cultural Centre in 1974, entitled An Environment. In the years between 1975–1979, she instigated a community-based “poor” theatre called “Spetsiotiko Theatro – Spetses Players” on the island of Spetses in the Saronic Gulf. Subsequent participation in solo and group exhibitions includes The Box, Gallery 3, Athens (1981); 20th São Paulo Biennale (1989); Leda Papaconstantinou: Performance, Film, Video 1969–2004, Bey Hammam, Thessaloniki, organised by the Thessaloniki International Film Festival and the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, In the Name of (2006); 1st Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art (2007); Forever, Old Oil Mill Factory in Elefsina, Aeschylia Festival (2009); Yes + No, Bath House of the Winds, Athens (2011); and The 3 Papaconstantinou – Theodore, Litsa, Leda, Leda, Fougaro, The Gallery Nafplion (2016).


Thursday 14 December 2023 - Sunday 21 April 2024

Tuesday – Sunday 11.00 a.m. – 7.00 p.m.

National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens, KALLIRROIS AVE. & AMVR. FRANTZI STR. (FORMER FIX FACTORY) ATHENS, 11743

TICKETS: General admission – Regular 8€, Reduced 4€

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