18 December 2021 – 27 February 2022| Ground Floor Foyer |19: 00-23: 30
On view on the Ground Floor of the Onassis Stegi is an installation consisting of a number of panels attached to a corner wall of Rena Papaspyrou’s (b. 1938) own design. These panels are wall sections detached by Papaspyrou from an abandoned house, now demolished, formerly located on the corner of 11 Vryaxidos Street and Aspasias Street in Pangrati, Athens. Ranging in scale, these fragments reveal the unseen side of the exterior walls of the building; several show traces of graffiti, stratification, and marks accumulated over time.
The detachment process began in 2015, then stopped, resumed in January 2020, and was completed on July 25 of the same year. Most panels were detached during the time of the first lockdown. Reflecting on her experience while engaged in this work, the artist notes that detaching “was the main task of the day, the one that gave meaning to the day. It was a way to count days, a way not to lose oneself.” Papaspyrou’s installation – the reconstruction of a wall that never was – is above all allegorical. A reflection on the female psyche and the condition of prolonged worry and social distancing which we have all experienced recently.
Prompted by the rapidly changing urban landscape of Athens, Papaspyrou traces the city’s unconscious – the recollective, psychological, and social functions of the remains of modernity. Art-making meets documentation, technical methods fuse with art forms – sculpture, installation, performance, drawing, painting, photography. The city is her studio. The houses and walls of Pangrati, the Athens area where she was born and still lives, have been a constant source of inspiration for her. From 1978 to 2005 she taught at the Athens School of Fine Arts, where she became a mentor to a constellation of acclaimed and upcoming Greek artists.
The installation can be visited from 18 December 2021 until 27 February 2022, accompanied by a bilingual edition of 352 pages, by Onassis Publications, edited by Christoforos Marinos, Afroditi Panagiotakou, Yorgos Tzirtzilakis, with texts and conversations by the artist herself, Yorgos Kravvaritis, Christoforos Marinos, Afroditi Panagiotakou, Yorgos Tzirtzilakis.