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A day at the Museum of the Future

10 February 2013 / 17:02:39  GRReporter
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The National Museum of Contemporary Art, located in the building of the former Fix factory, is in its final stages. Director Anna Kafetsi is making a tour of the building, which is quickly turning into a jewel, for To Vima's readers.

On the facade of the building facing Kallirois Street, workers have put big stone slabs. These will cover the entire building, as a replica of the Ilisos River that flows deep beneath the surface. In an area with a length of 80 metres, the water will fall from a height of 5 metres along the perpendicular wall that is shaped like a kind of a barcode with the initials of the museum.

About a year ago, they had just begun destroying the walls and erecting columns. Now, you can go anywhere - to the permanent exhibitions halls, to the amphitheatre, to the library, to the offices, and to the top floor, where the restaurant will be located. From there, Athens seems even beautiful. The smile of Director Anna Kafetsi is the same. She is happy because a date for the completion of the museum has been determined - in October, and the finishing works will be completed by March 2014, when the museum will be inaugurated.

An island of art between the streets of Kallirois and Singrou, where the abandoned building of the closed factory has been standing for decades - this is the museum. Mrs. Kafetsi listed its advantages - its location in the centre of Athens, convenient transportation, its area of 20,000 square metres, united spaces inside that are of various heights - from 9.5 m to 4.5 m.

The creation

The workers are climbing up the facade of the building towards Singrou and are finishing the application of aluminium and mirrored glass - an outstanding architectural element offering transparency through bringing light to the interior. "This could be used inside for highlighting the elements of the design, and not only that," said Kafetsi. "I have walked in this building, I've lived here, I've been here in my mind. But now, when it is a fact, I have some new ideas. The space itself creates them and there will be major changes in the original plan," she said. Years have also created great expectations for the museum, sometimes even exaggerated ones. But it must obey its own plan and its own rules.

"This museum is not a school, it is a place brimming with thoughts and knowledge. Active citizens will visit it, but it will also create active citizens," noted the Director. This idea will guide the entire exposition, which will focus on works of art and the basic rule will be a discussion among works of art themselves, thus creating unexpected partnerships, without geographical, age or ethnic prejudices.

"The permanent exhibition is not chronological, it's not encyclopaedic, nor educational in the narrow sense. If I have to describe it with a phrase, I would say that it is an aesthetic topography of the human state with its light and shade effects. It is a public discussion of the works of art and a network of new creative relationships that, if born, the museum will have achieved success. This is the main goal," said Mrs. Kafetsi.

Such a dialogue can be born on the fourth floor between the autobiographical work of art by Ilya Kabakov "The Boat of My Life" and another autobiographical composition by Hatzimichalis - "The Interrupted Road." The austere work of Yiannis Kounelis will discuss aestheticism with the work of art by Koutlouk Ataman on the 90 names of God in the Koran.

The Museum of Contemporary Art now has more than 900 works of art. Mona Hatoum, Allan Sekoula, Emil Zassir, Gary Hill, Bill Viola are just some of the foreign artists whose works will be presented. There are also many Greek artists - Balka, Bia Davou, Kesanli, Vlassis Kaniaris, Tsoklis, Nina Papaconstantinou, Kostis Velonis, George Drivas, etc.

There is still much to be done for the completion of the museum. Its opening will coincide with the Greek Presidency of the EU and that is a good reason for its introduction on an international level. According to Anna Kafetsi, who has been struggling for that moment for eight years: "It is important that when someone comes to the museum he or she leaves it "staying".

The internal road of art

From the main entrance of the museum, visitors will enter a large foyer with a ticket-office and a cloakroom on the left and an information office on the right. The small hall for regular exhibitions has an area of 600 m2. There is also a cafeteria near the nine elevators and 12 indoor and outdoor escalators. The educational halls, a small amphitheatre with 90 seats, as well as various offices are located in the middle, and permanent exhibitions will be located on the next floors. Each floor will have information offices, where visitors will be able to obtain information about the history of art and artists' biographies and works. There is a library that provides access to all opto-acoustic works of the museum that are digitised. Visitors will be able to watch each of the ten monitors, sitting comfortably, and choose a work of art, or connect to other databases of museums and art centres. There will also be workshops for new technologies where students and artists will be able to create new artworks.

Tags: Museum of Contemporary Art Yiannis Kounelis Vassilis Canaris Bia Davou Nina Papaconstantinou Fix
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