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Press Release
 
ex–pats
 
The Museum Alex Mylona – Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art is happy to present the exhibition ex-pats, a visual conversation between Despina Meimaroglou and Eleni Mylonas on the experience of displacement and expatriation curated by Apostolis Artinos
 
Opening: Friday, May 5, at 20:00
Duration: May 5 - July 30, 2017.
 
A bilingual catalogue in Greek and English accompanies the exhibition.  The museum organizes guided tours by appointment. Please contact us for further information.
 
Curator Apostolis Artinos, introduces the exhibition:
 
“The displaced, the immigrant, the refugee, the man without a country, the exiled form part of an increasing nomadism, characters of an uprooting, a worsening nomadism, a life based on a perpetual motion which becomes a destination, an unattainable destination of a nostalgic origin. We abandon, we wander, we long for; that circle repeated again and again; an unvanquished grief continuing relentlessly. The wanderer, the homesick, an existence bound to the illusions of their origins; to their first-heard soundscape. We possess the soundscape of a language without owning it. And so it goes: the birthplace of our origin, something we carry within, without possessing it. Even though we inwardly dwell in it, some of its aspects will remain forever gone and thus, forever missed. We belong and yet not. That double notion of nostalgia establishes the human psychic among its lost and re-found extent. All signs of an origin to which we all turn, attempting to trace our footsteps; to track-down a singular loss.”
 
In Despina’s Meimaroglous own words:
 
“The idea of trying to get back to something else… A nostalgia for my carefree youthful years started invading my thoughts since 1995 when I finally decided and paid a very short day-visit to my homeland Al-Minia a lovely town stretched along the Nile in Upper Egypt, 35 years after my family’s final departure from Egypt. A longing for a town which although it had undergone many major changes it continued to dominate my dreams, until the year 2014 when I happened to befriend a talented much younger Egyptian artist Dr. Wael Sabour through facebook, who happened to be teaching during that time at my hometown’s University. That’s what initiated a very enriching friendship and collaboration which later on became the force which led me to the completion of my present multi-media-installation «The Reconstruction of Paradise» which is my participation in the present very emotional exhibition entitled ex-pats, shared with the inspired artist and friend Eleni Mylonas in a kind of a ‘dialog’ between two artists belonging to the same generation, but who continue to express migration, nostalgia and loss each in a very different but yet very personal unique way. I chose to conclude my above thoughts with the following phrase* attributed to the great, famous artist and filmmaker Jonas Mekas, one of the last surviving members of a displaced generation, to whom the Scottish renowned artist Douglas Gordon dedicated Mekas’s story of exile in his video-installation “I Had Nowhere to Go” (2016).
 
*“Someone who leaves his homeland in his own will seeking for adventure can return to it any time  -if that’s his wish. But the one who is being deported cannot. This is why I decided to name my cultural load, My Home.”
 
In Eleni’s Mylonas’ own words:
 
       “I first set foot in the New World 51 years ago, minus my luggage, to the tune of the Yellow Submarine. It was 1966 and I was living the fulfillment of an insistent dream without being aware of it. I was willingly leaving behind everything I knew until then, thirsty for anything new, anything different. A few months later I morphed from a Fulbright scholarship student to a political exile of the Greek Junta. This led to my later becoming a dual citizen and to the constant uprooting which continued throughout my life.  The rise of Islamic extremism, war in the Middle East, the drowning of thousands of refugees in the Aegean and the entrance of horrible Mr. Trump in the White House forces me to relive the painful violation of the Greek Junta many times over. Respect, Meritocracy and Freedom, hallmarks of my adopted homeland which acted as my safety valve heretofore, collapsed. My artistic practice, so frequently influenced by my background in Journalism, started taking a more personal form. The three channel video Ave Maria, created for the Canakkale Biennale titled “Homeland” which was cancelled by Ertogan for political reasons a few weeks before the opening, was temporarily shelved. Distinguished fellow artist Despina Meimaroglou, a friend with different life experiences but a parallel artistic practice, in her installation “Reconstruction of Paradise” is relating the loss of her home in Minia of Upper Egypt where she was born. My own installation, with the Ave Maria video at its center, could have had the title “De-constructing Paradise”. My interminable arrivals and departures between my two homelands had up to now the positive effect not so much of loss as of regaining each place and culture on a different turn of the spiral of time. A new scenario is now in progress. With this dialogue in the ex-pats exhibition, each one of us explores in her own way the theme of loss of country which is the existential and universal issue of our time.”
 
Biographical notes:
 
Despina Meimaroglou
Being multi-lingual, due to my upbringing and my extensive travels throughout the world, an artist with long term obsession in art-projects focusing on anthropocentric issues, I’m often drawn to volunteer work with underprivileged groups such as juvenile prison inmates as well as young students from immigrant groups now residing in Greece. Born in 1944 and raised in Egypt plus my deep interest and continuous observation of the overpowering socio-political situations which rule and determine the human fate around the world usually become the ignition of my involvement in long term art-projects. In 1966 after the completion of my art studies at Kent Institute of Art and Design in Maidstone U.K., I moved with my family to Athens where I worked as graphic artist and art director in advertising for the next 10 years. My background in advertising taught me a personal way of perceiving the so-called reality. So far, I have held more than 30 solo exhibitions in Greece and abroad and have participated in important international shows at Museums and Art Foundations, in Greece and abroad mainly at: at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center / Washington DC, at John Jay College of Criminal Justice / CUNY, N.Y / at Columbia College Chicago, at Fondazione Mudima, Milan, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, in Toronto, the Czech Republic and the Alexandrian Library amongst others. In 2009 I participated in two international Biennials: Thessaloniki / Biennale 2 and 1st International Women’s Biennale at Incheon S. Korea. Since the mid 90’s my work has been repeatedly presented at art-conferences mainly in the U.S. and I attended several art-workshops and residencies at American universities and foundations as well as at Quito University in Ecuador and Richmond American College in London. My art-practice is multidisciplinary, considered mainly conceptual and includes photography, video-projections, in situ -installations, printmaking and artist’s books.
www.meimaroglou.com
 
 
Eleni Mylonas
Born in Greece right after the war, I finished high school in Greece and received a BA from the University of Geneva.  In 1966 I went to New York on a Fulbright grant and a scholarship from Columbia University, where, caught by the Greek Military Junta, I morphed into a political refugee. I received a Master’s Degree in Journalism in 1967 and made New York my home.  I later studied photography at the Polytechnic of Central London.  My studies in Journalism left a strong imprint on my life and artistic practice. In the early 80s I completed a series of large scale photographs Journey Through Ellis Island which was exhibited at PS1 in New York and at the Zoumboulakis Gallery in Athens. Part of this series is  on permanent display at the Ellis Island Museum. Represented for many years by the Ileana Tounta Gallery in Athens and Art Resources Transfer in New York, I moved from photography to sculpture, to geometric abstraction, to video, performance and mixed media. My work has been widely exhibited in Europe and the United States and is in many public and private collections. I taught at Parson’s School for Design in NY and have given many talks on my work. My multi media math series Quasi Periodic Space was shown at the Foundation for Hellenic Culture in NY in 2000. I participated in «Modern Odysseys» at the Queens Museum of Art in New York and took part in the first ATHENS BIENNALE «Destroy Athens» in 2007 and the 3rd Biennale of Thessaloniki in 2011. In 2014 I had a major solo show at the BENAKI MUSEUM in Athens followed by a show at the Francoise Heitsch Gallery in Munich. In October 2016 my works were included in the inaugural show of the EMST Museum in Athens, Urgent Conversations Athens-Antwerp.  My three channel video Ave Maria will be shown this Spring at the ex-pats show in Athens and in the summer it will travel to Osnabruck, Germany. In July 2017 I will be participating in the exhibition «The Artist Knight» to take place in Gaasbeek Castle in Belgium. Most recently I have been working on a series of large oil on canvas portraits of inmates incarcerated in the notorious US prison system. I spend most of the winter in my studio in NY returning to Aegina in the Spring and traveling frequently to new destinations, most recently to Africa. www.elenimylonasArt.com  
 
 
Apostolis Artinos
Apostolis Artinos is a writer and independent contemporary art curator. Together with  visual artist Kostas Christopoulos, they established the art plarform The symptom projects, through which they organised five group exhibitions in the cycle The symptom 01 - 05  and two exclusively photographic exhibitions in the cycle es-optron 01 – 02. Artinos has curated many shows in Greece, notably: The thorn of beauty (2012), The transparency of sex (2013), Lurking nature (2013), The heterotopia of the hut (2014) and writes frequently for the Athenian press. He has published the following books: Vita contemplativa (1998), Dora's letters (2011), The heterotopia of the hut (2014), The Lacan event (2014). His blog is www.leximata.blogspot.gr
 
Co-ordination & Press Office (MAM-MMCA): Eleni Kotsara, Head of Development & Administration eleni.kotsara@mmca-mam.gr
 
 
 
Photographs of the exhibition can be found at the following link:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ck0o05et13iw2j8/AAA5okra1uoaqcUplYve_geAa?dl=0
 
 
 
Museum Alex Mylona – Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art
www.mmca-mam.gr
5 Agion Assomaton Sq., Thissio
10554 Athens
T: +30 210 3215717
F: +30 210 3215712
http://mouseioalexmylona.blogspot.com/
mam@mmca-mam.gr
 
Opening Hours:
 
Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 11.00 – 19.00
Thursday: 13.00 – 21.00
Sunday: 11.00 – 16.00
Monday, Tuesday:  Closed 

 
 

 
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