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The Last Reader

annex M
curated by Anna Kafetsi

Bodies and voices, the sounds of language, ‘the texture of the reading’ (recitation, public reading, text read like a piece of music, song/written score) according to poet Aleksei Kruchenykh, interpretation and its uncertainties, impossibility of understanding, translation, reading as community, as exit from the self/the study and entrance into life, into the public realm, reality as a book/text – these are all topoi of a new reading condition with no limits, revealed through the diversity of readings of the visual art works and the exhibition text.
Who is the last reader? The title of the first exhibition poses an open question. Is it Roland Barthes’s silent, solitary reader, taking pleasure from reading in his/her meditative interiority? Is it Johannes Dahlmann, the character in Borges’s ‘The South’? Is it the public reader/performer, who as an actor, orator and activist deconstructs, ‘betrays’, re-constructs, and re-writes the text? ames Joyce’s horizontal readers’ communities?
Is it ‘a soldier [who] dreams of white lilies’, in Mahmoud Darwish’s poem? Is it speakers of other languages and expatriated, the Strangers of reading?
The act of reading as image, emotion, performative experience and rehearsal, as a collective/participatory process, or alternative activism, is a constant negotiation between the fictional and the real. An area in which, par excellence, new forms of subjectivity and new collectivities emerge.
This exhibition highlights aspects of this meta-reading condition through a selection of 15 audiovisual – except one – artworks that use literary and philosophical texts (including by Joyce, Cavafy, Kruchenykh, Beckett, Wittgenstein), or they themselves create a hybrid space to read.
Using different conceptual approaches, ten major international and Greek artists engage with text and textuality, literary theory, language in an expansive reflection on the oral properties of language as a sonic element of the artwork.
Designed as a library set in public space, this exhibition transforms the Garden – the main exhibition space – into scattered illuminated reading rooms in the dark, inviting visitors to open themselves to an expansive, limitless reading experience. The goal is not to identify meaning but, rather, to release our own imaginary through poetic experience and the senses.