It has been a rich and exciting start of the season for Thessaloniki: September saw the opening of the 3rd Thessaloniki Biennale and Action Field Kodra – annual visual arts festival; October welcomed the XV Biennale de la Mediterranée , followed in November by the Thessaloniki International Film Festival.
The start of the season was similarly exciting for Societe Anonyme, which received three invitations to present its activities through projects here in Thessaloniki, but also in Turin, Italy.
The latter was the first and from one perspective the most significant (due to its international scope) proposal. It came from “The Others”, an exhibition project dedicated to showcasing the activities of alternative, non-profit, collective initiatives from around the world within the framework of Artissima art fair in Turin. “The Others” was hosted in Le Nuove, a former prison now transformed into exhibition space. Participating projects were selected by a Committee composed of Andrea Bruciati, Director of la Galleria Comunale of Contemporary Art of Montefalcone; Claudio Composti, Director of Mc2 Gallery, Milan; Alessandro Facente, a young independent Curator and Michele Lupi Director of Rolling Stone magazine, partner of The Others. Societe Anonyme was honored to receive an invitation – nominated by Ilaria Gianni, co-artistic director of Nomas Foundation, Rome – to participate to this interesting initiative as an innovative practice among other similar collectives from around the world. And even though it would have been a great opportunity to showcase SA’s outlook and the work of its participants, sadly we could not accept the invitation, due to the financial demands that this would entail.
Right after that, we were invited to participate in the “Poster Group”, curated by Maria Kenanidou and Theophilos Tramboulis within the framework of Action Field Kodra – an annual visual arts festival held in Kalamaria, Thessaloniki. The project aimed at presenting the practice of art groups and collectives currently active in Greece. 14 groups dedicated either to producing artistic work or to theoretical research and debate presented their activities through posters. We decided to go a slightly different way and actually intervene in the space – a whole wall painted black was covered with selected quotes from the texts that we have been discussing for the past two years, handwritten in chalk. The idea to create this kind of blackboard dedicated to the discussions we have been having and the wonderful texts that generated them, came up while exploring the possibilities with artist Vasilis Zografos. And it would not have materialized without the invaluable help of Vasilis, to whom we are grateful.
Finally, curators Areti Leopoulou and Thodoris Markoglou invited us to present Societe Anonyme to the participants of the International Young Artists Workshop “Domino” that took place within the framework of the Thessaloniki Biennale 3. The participating artists (coming from Tunisia, Lebanon, Georgia, Portugal, Egypt, Greece and Cyprus) spent two weeks in the city and besides producing their works, they were introduced to the local arts scene. As a local agent with international scope, we certainly enjoyed our conversation with them, which included examples of similar initiatives in their cities.
Overall, these invitations reasserted our position that Societe Anonyme can be a valuable, relevant initiative, with the potential to contribute to the developing local contemporary arts scene; while at the same time partake in a community of similar initiatives, nationally and internationally, that share the common goal of creating new possibilities for operating and offering common ground for exchange and discussion that exists alongside the framework set by institutions and large scale exhibitions.
It is this element, the fact that Societe Anonyme acts alongside the existing framework, that allows for new possibilities to emerge. Those who participate in its activities are offered an opportunity to exchange views and ideas, to discuss and interact on a professional level, beyond specific projects or collaborations, but in the frame of the endless potentials that can emerge through getting acquainted with the agenda and position of those working in the same field.