ARTIST

Thanasis Chondros & Alexandra Katsiani

Research Center for the Definition of Happiness

Happiness

belongs to those

that suspect its existence 

 

Research Centre for the Identification of Happiness (KEPE) Press Release, 26 September 1999

 

Chondros and Katsiani have been working as partners since 1974, using the city of Thessaloniki as their base. In their artistic and non-artistic practices (first as an artistic partnership and later as a duo of ‘retired’ artists and philologists), both as partners and as a family, they have long rejected the existence of boundaries between art and life inviting us to seek out a way of everyday living through art (as Areti Leopoulou wrote in her text, in the volume On clarity between velocity and duration: Crumbs that Chondros and Katsiani left behind to find their way, 2019).

Their work, both as a duo and in collaboration with others, has spanned three decades and includes numerous artistic events, concerts, publications and albums. The unconventional freedom with which they moved between different art forms, as well as their playful use of available creative means, in turn characterised their daily lives. Given their interest, from early on, in unifying disparate approaches, over this last decade and following their early ‘retirement’ from the arts in 2004, they have participated in mountain road races as Anonymous Rationalists alongside their son and daughter, whilst they also formed the group Oikoi, sharing moments of family play, sound compositions, photographs, publications, and jars of traditional sweets. They still take part in art events, whilst avoiding the creation of new works. They often post announcements online, offering publications and other items from their archive and personal collections with the intimacy and immediacy one would expect from a yard sale. 

A selection of artistic actions and casual displays of love, intimacy, experimentation and resistance are presented on a specially designed platform at Villa Kapandji, as part of the Biennale’s main exhibition, Being as Communion. The work of Chondros and Katsiani debunks dichotomies and pseudo-dilemmas, with the ostensibly separation of art and life, the private and the public, the causal and the formal, finding a way to co-exist. In Incest, for example, a pair of Alexandra’s shoes tenderly inhabits a pair of Thanasis’ shoes, whilst in turn Thanasis’ pair is inhabited by Alexandra’s. Reprinted publications, press releases from KEPE and a stack of fliers from Poetry One Way or the Other―in which all the words, except the disjunctive “or” have been scribbled over―are placed on the various levels of the wooden platform. To the right and left, visitors can access a selection of compositions by Oikoi2310 and the group Dimosioypalliliko Retire, while at the top of the platform, videos and recorded footage of their actions are displayed on a series of screens. On the wall above the screens, a photo from the 2003 anti-war march is pasted on the wall, depicting the two artists, among others, holding a banner that reads “CALL FOR THE RECONSTITUTION OF A HORIZON”. 

The opposite wall has been covered, top to bottom, with multiple reprints of a sticker that was disseminated throughout the streets of Thessaloniki on New Year’s Eve in 1984. The sticker depicts the two of them facing the world, arm in arm, and the words “We love each other,” with their home address printed underneath. The centre of the wall features Community, an installation re-situated straight from their kitchen wall, consisting of 36 spoons coupling each other, whilst collectively they contain a spoonful of sugar. Facing the installation is a bright neon sign, inviting us to address their question Would you like me to be your family?

The Research Centre for the Identification of Happiness (KEPE) therefore reintroduces itself to Thessaloniki, 25 years after its launching, inviting a new public to identify happiness by taking part in a shared experience in the hope of identifying fresh ways of communicating, living consciously, joyously, through art.

 

ARTIST'S VENUES

MAIN EXHIBITION

BEING AS COMMUNION

The central exhibition of the 8th Thessaloniki Biennial of Contemporary Art aims to think critically about co-existence and collaborative practices as creative tools for handling the multiple crises that we face. Thinking through being as communion, 28 artists via their respective practices touch on various forms of more than human collaborations, with our spectral past and our challenging present, thinking of how we can co-exist with animate life around us, the land that we stand on, the food that we eat and the air that we breathe. Being as Communion will focus on inclusive practices that explore different forms of care, love and mutuality, whilst also proposing generous forms of support systems. Invited artists and artist collectives will explore the human impact on the eco-systems that we share, whilst suggesting forms of more equitable existence, for humanimal survival, probing to what extent we can learn new ways of being with, rather than dominating the world around us.

Ten key sites and museums of the city of Thessaloniki will host the exhibition’s works, in dialogue with the city’s layered history, allowing for a polyphonic reading of the exhibition in ten equal parts.

04.03 –
21.05.2023

MOMus-Museum of Contemporary Art, Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, Museum of Byzantine Culture, National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation, Hamidie – Islahane Cultural Venue, Eptapyrgio, Yeni Jami, Thessaloniki French Institute, Glass Box “Scultures’ Garden” (seefront area), Thessaloniki Concert Hall (building M2)

The central exhibition of the 8th Thessaloniki Biennial of Contemporary Art aims to think critically about co-existence and collaborative practices as creative tools for handling the multiple crises that we face. Thinking through being as communion, 28 artists via their respective practices touch on various forms of more than human collaborations, with our spectral past and our challenging present, thinking of how we can co-exist with animate life around us, the land that we stand on, the food that we eat and the air that we breathe. Being as Communion will focus on inclusive practices that explore different forms of care, love and mutuality, whilst also proposing generous forms of support systems. Invited artists and artist collectives will explore the human impact on the eco-systems that we share, whilst suggesting forms of more equitable existence, for humanimal survival, probing to what extent we can learn new ways of being with, rather than dominating the world around us.

Ten key sites and museums of the city of Thessaloniki will host the exhibition’s works, in dialogue with the city’s layered history, allowing for a polyphonic reading of the exhibition in ten equal parts.

04.03 –
21.05.2023

MOMus-Museum of Contemporary Art, Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, Museum of Byzantine Culture, National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation, Hamidie – Islahane Cultural Venue, Eptapyrgio, Yeni Jami, Thessaloniki French Institute, Glass Box “Scultures’ Garden” (seefront area), Thessaloniki Concert Hall (building M2)

EXHIBITIONS

PROJECTS

04.03 –
21.05.2023

09.02 –
30.04.2023

An exhibition collectively put together by curators of MOMus

21.12.2022 –
21.05.2023

ΜΟΜus-Museum of Modern Art-Costakis Collection

04.03 –
21.05.2023

09.02 –
30.04.2023

An exhibition collectively put together by curators of MOMus

04.03 –
21.05.2023

09.02 –
30.04.2023

An exhibition collectively put together by curators of MOMus

21.12.2022 –
21.05.2023

ΜΟΜus-Museum of Modern Art-Costakis Collection

BIENNALE 8

GEOCULTURA

The exchange of ideas, values and norms, within a context of a multitude of cultural, geographical and political debates and conflicts, is at the core of the concept of 'geoculture' in the political and social sciences. This is the rationale behind the decision of the 8th edition of Thessaloniki's Biennale of Contemporary Art to turn its attention to the terms 'land' (“geo-”) and 'culture', connecting the cultivation of land with culture, understood as a set of resources, texts and practices which are available to people, helping them better understand and more effectively act in the world. It explores issues of memory, history, and managing both the natural and man-made environment, under the conditions of the climate, economic and refugee crises.

The participating artists focus on histories of places and people; they touch upon issues of identity, ethics, equity and sustainability; they suggest improvised ecological technologies; they explore the potential for collective existence and question the systems by which production, consumption and profitability are organized; they put into practice ideas of resource sharing and equitable living, as well as ways of reassessing the commodification of human and non-human life. Through their works, imagination becomes a crucial factor in facilitating the audience to imagine different versions of the future.

Firmly believing that art broadens our understanding of the world, the 8th Biennale seeks not only to raise environmental awareness, but also to multiply future possibilities, with new claims and visions. The 8th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art aspires to serve as a means of communication with the world, as an act of justice and freedom, of trust and progressive thinking.

The Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art is financed by Greece and the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) is organised by MOMus and implemented by MOMus-Museum of Contemporary Art-Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art and State Museum of Contemporary Art Collections.

The participating artists focus on histories of places and people; they touch upon issues of identity, ethics, equity and sustainability; they suggest improvised ecological technologies; they explore the potential for collective existence and question the systems by which production, consumption and profitability are organized; they put into practice ideas of resource sharing and equitable living, as well as ways of reassessing the commodification of human and non-human life. Through their works, imagination becomes a crucial factor in facilitating the audience to imagine different versions of the future.

Firmly believing that art broadens our understanding of the world, the 8th Biennale seeks not only to raise environmental awareness, but also to multiply future possibilities, with new claims and visions. The 8th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art aspires to serve as a means of communication with the world, as an act of justice and freedom, of trust and progressive thinking.

The Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art is financed by Greece and the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) is organised by MOMus and implemented by MOMus-Museum of Contemporary Art-Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art and State Museum of Contemporary Art Collections.

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