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The economic crisis is not an alibi for artists

12 May 2011 / 22:05:23  GRReporter
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ART-ATHINA – the long-awaited event by all admirers of art, by the people who are interested in the new trends and all those who wish to have a new picture for their bedroom or living room, comes back for the 17th consecutive time in the covered TaeKwonDo playground in the Faliro neighbourhood in Athens between the 12th and the 15th of May.

This year, a similar number of galleries, museums and foundations will be participating (58 galleries from 9 countries and 40 museums and foundations), offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy a panorama of contemporary Greek and international art through the work of more than 300 artists, and also through the exhibits of museums, cultural institutions and art publications. The works of art showcased at the exhibition will attract any potential buyer, since their prices will start from 300 Euros and they will even include works that could form part of museum or large private collections.

ART-ATHINA (, which has become an internationally acclaimed art fair, was established in 1993 by the Hellenic Art Galleries Association with a view to showcasing selected Greek and international galleries and to organising important parallel art events in the field of visual arts. According to Alexandros J. Stanas, General Director of ART-ATHINA, “art is a lever for change and progress and it can dynamically contribute to social dialogue, as well as adding colour to everyday life.” A conviction borne out by the fact that last year’s fair attracted approximately 16,000 visitors and, contrary to the prevailing pessimistic financial climate, revitalized the country’s art scene. "Sometimes the crisis is an alibi, but this year we do not use the crisis as an alibi, and I think we will prove it with the works presented at the exhibition. ART-ATHINA remains an island of culture full of hope, mostly due to the participation of the exhibition halls," says Stanas.

"This year we present some renowned artists, but also younger ones. We tried to present works that vary in style - the light boxes by Eri Sourouni, the pictures by Tita Bonatsou and Nikos Vandoros, the works of Sofia Sotiropoulou and Antonis Larios, and pictures. We would like to present to the audience the great variety of artists with whom we cooperate in different styles, as we believe that art is not just one style but includes different techniques and modes of perception. Generally, people want to find pieces of art at good prices and that is why I think the galleries which represent the older artists at extremely high prices had to adapt to the market requirements. Those who offered artworks at reasonable prices and had nice things to present continue to exist, to develop and sell. People always look for art, there is always public, but the customers want good prices for the artworks they choose," said Harrisa Dimitrakopoulou from Astrolavos Gallery.

"We have been taking part in the exhibition for many years. This year, we decided to introduce the young artists we are working with - Anton Donev, Aikaterini Gegisian, Farida El Gazzar, Mariana Yoka. We highly appreciate photography and so, we presented the photos by Yannis Hadziaslanis and Hrair Sarkisian. Our gallery presents the Greek artists abroad and participates in many exhibitions worldwide. I think that even in difficult times art comes alive, people always need to think about something nice," said Sofia Niparidou from Kalfayan Gallery.

"Our gallery exists since 1986. We present young Greek artists, but also well established names," said Christina Androulidaki from A.D. Gallery, who told about the young artists she presents - the pictures by Nikos Markku, the oil paintings by Maria Polyzoidou with faces taken from images of wars that she finds on the Internet and tries to imitate the quality of the spoiled film. That is why her paintings seem to be taken from a cine-film. The young Anastasis Stratakis, who for the first time showcases his miniature graphics of important personalities of the past that he copies from large and impressive portraits, but makes them tiny, and the Polaroids by George Koradkis who photographed various beaches around the world.

According to the outcome of the first survey of the fair attendance which was conducted last year, ART-ATHINA has been attracting rising numbers of new visitors and the impressive increase reached 59.2%. The main reasons for visiting the fair are entertainment and information about the fine arts and 71.5% of visitors’ professions are not related to the arts and the majority of visitors are in the 26-35 age range.

The parallel programme of ART-ATHINA 2011 includes a series of actions in progress and documentary screenings. As Yianna Grammatopoulou, the President of the Hellenic Art Galleries Association notes: “a particularly interesting programme of parallel events has been planned, bringing together the creative force of our art scene and aiming at significant collaborations.” Including the open to all big party organized by ART-ATHINA 2011 and Bar-Guru-Bar. It will take place on the west terrace of the covered TaeKwonDo playground on Saturday at 9 pm.

It is worth noting that ART-ATHINA 2011 will be the second art fair in the world, 24 hours after Art Amsterdam, and will have an online presence. Over 20 exhibitors will showcase the work of the artists they are representing through the virtual platform, while all interested parties will be able to bid online in order to buy works of art. We should also note that the auction houses Christie's and Sotheby's are earning 15% of their turnovers via the Internet, and 10% of this amount is coming from new customers which is a clear sign that the future is on the Internet, even for arts.

Tags: SocietyArtsPicturesArt marketFairExhibitionART ATHINAArtistsVisual artsAuction houses
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