2 June 2011: Presentation by artist Lena Athansopoulou on her series of workshops “Syllegontas // Synthetontas” at Cocktail Bar
Over the past few years, it has become increasingly common practice for museums and art institutions to invite artists to realize a project as part of their educational programme – not just the perennial artist talk but an actual workshop, performance, activity, tour, etc. that might lead to some form of collaborative creative output in relation to the museum’s collection or series of exhibitions. To my knowledge this practice is still far from commonplace in Greece, so I was quite intrigued when I heard that the Folklife and Ethnological Museum of Macedonia-Thrace in Thessaloniki had invited artist Lena Athanasopoulou to develop an educational project that would somehow bridge the museum’s collection with contemporary art.
Given her ongoing interest in collage, Lena chose to focus her attention on the museum’s extensive photographic archive, including 19th and 20th century family portraits, and documentation of the museum’s collection of objects and heirlooms. In response to this archive, she devised a series of workshops on collage, addressed to both artists and the public alike, using material from the collection. For a number of different reasons, the workshops were indefinitely postponed. So we decided to invite Lena to come and discuss how and why she developed the workshops, as a means of opening up a conversation on both collage and the ways in which contemporary artists might develop educational projects as part of their practice in response to a given institution’s collection or programme. By inviting her to speak as part of Société Anonyme, it was also our intention to keep a record of her compelling research should the project not be realized in the end.
Lena began by describing how she conceived of four 3h-long practice-based workshops structured around a series of inter-related themes. These workshops aimed to create greater awareness around images’ formal, metaphorical, symbolic and allegorical dimensions, while circumventing the folkloric aspect of the source material. Continue reading