Xirómero/Dryland will represent Greece at the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia

3 mins read

Author: Calliope Alpitsi

Xiromero/Dryland, which will represent Greece at the 60th International Art ExhibitionLa Biennale di Venezia, is a transversal collective work conceived by Thanasis Deligiannis and Yannis Michalopoulos with co-creators Elia Kalogiannis, George Kyvernitis, Kostas Haikalis and Fotis Sagona.

The curator of the Greek participation is Panos Giannikopoulos. It consists of an agricultural irrigation machine which coordinates in real time the sound, the moving image, and the lighting environment of the installation. The Greek representation examines the experience of a festival, following a route from the village square to the edge of the surrounding agricultural landscape. In particular, it draws inspiration from the festivals of mainland Greece, Thessaly and the region of Xiromeros in Western Greece, lending the title to the work.

The artists refer to water as a prism – a means of seeing and thinking – focusing on its scarcity or surplus, its need or waste, as well as its social connotations. Resource depletion is linked to physical and economic depletion. The project explores the political possibilities of sound and music, the impact of technology on rural landscapes and cultural diversity.

The celebration of the festival conveys information and meaning as a ritual and entertainment. It is linked to agricultural work, produced by – but also generating – the internal temporality of the community with watering and agricultural responsibilities. It helps each community to create an image of itself. At the same time, however, opposite concepts are intertwined: spectators are transformed into participants; from the stage we are off stage, from performing action to everyday activity.

©Yorgos Kyvernitis

This incessant interaction between “performance” and reality is carried over into the play. Xiromero/Dryland utilizes the architectural features of the Greek pavilion to highlight associations with the agricultural warehouses and religious architecture that typically form the backdrop of festivals. In addition, the sprinkler located in the center of the pavilion circularly defines the setting of the installation. The project also moves the community gathering place – the square, the public gathering – from the outside to the inside. As the sprinkler system is set in motion, it creates a rhythm, defining time like a clock or an unwinding tape, prompting visitors’ bodies to follow paths and change modes of viewing. Dryland/Dryland eschews an aesthetic approach and emphasizes the emotional immediacy of contact with objects, sounds and images.

©Yorgos Kyvernitis

By observing gender relations at the festival, the possibilities of presenting the self, the different versions of femininity and the revelation or concealment of the female body, as well as the ambivalence of the gesture of the subject who withdraws by choosing to be absent and excluded from the celebration are examined.

Dryland/Dryland attempts correlations between the geographically enmeshed experience and the global condition, a shift between dominant and marginalized cultural object that seems to create the intermediate space for the constitution of new meanings.

  • Dry-mero [ksirˈomero]: Known for its festivals, it is a historical province of Aitoloakarnania. Today it is a municipality of the Region of Western Greece.

The research of the project Xiromero/Dryland, which will represent Greece at the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, was carried out in the framework of the Margaroni Residency commissioned by Onassis Culture by the mediator and composer Thanasis Deligiannis and the dramatist and philologist Yannis Michalopoulos as Onassis AiR Fellows, who formed the artistic team with the visual artist and filmmaker Elia Kalogianni, the photographer and documentary maker Giorgos Kyvernitis, the sound designer and sound engineer Kostas Haikalis and the visual artist and architect Fotis Sagonas.

by Fotis Sagonas

The implementation of the project and its exhibition in Venice has as main financier the Ministry of Culture and as National Commissioner responsible for the organization, production and promotion of the project the National Museum of Contemporary Art and Panos Giannikopoulos as curator of the Greek Pavilion.

Onassis Culture: Additional supporters are the Thessaloniki International Festival and the Athens and Epidaurus Festival. The project is supported by ARTWORKS through the founding donation of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), the NEON Culture and Development Organization and Outset. AEGEAN is the official airline sponsor, while the representation is under the auspices of the Municipality of Xiromeros.

Artistic Partners: Fotini Papachristopoulou, Vasiliki-Maria Plavou, Marios Stamatis
Curator of the Greek participation is Panos Giannikopoulos

National Commissioner | Organization:
EMST | National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens
Head of Production of the Greek Pavilion, EMST | National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens: Yiannis Arvanitis, National Gallery of Art, National Gallery of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece
Head of Communication & Press Office of the Greek Pavilion, EMST | National Museum of Contemporary Art: Maria Tsolaki
Exhibition Organization & Production: Georgios Efstathoulidis – Constructivist Exhibitions, Antonia Hantzi

EMST | National Museum of Contemporary Art
Artistic Director: Katerina Gregos
Administrative & Financial Director: Athena Ioannou

©Yorgos Kyvernitis


Saturday 20 April 2024 - Sunday 24 November 2024

Opening: 18 April, 13:30 p.m., certification required

Tuesday-Sunday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. (from April 20 to September 30)
Opening hours: 10 am – 6 pm (from 1 October to 24 November)

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