From July 14th to September 18th, in the Athens Concert Hall Garden, AnnexM presents Songlines, an in situ exhibition of works by Katerina Katsifaraki, curated by Anna Kafetsi.
Scattered around 19 different parts of the Garden, new in situ productions and recontextualisations of previous works, are presented in the exhibition’s natural environment, in part in daylight and in full from sunset until late at night.
The exhibition will also present the first screening the new documentary by Dimitra Kouzi, Do-Nothing Farming 2022, which provides the frame for the preparation of Katerina Katsifaraki’s installation, Seed balls. The video records the participatory production process of seed balls from vegetable seeds and grains in the workshop organized for this purpose by the natural cultivator, Panagiotis Manikis in Alagonia, Taygetos in May 2022.
Ephemeral installations and inconspicuous sculptural interventions in natural materials are spread over the grass and stone. Self-illuminated photographs are translated into landscape paintings amid the greenery, momentary videos like visual “haiku”, and projections without sound create a poetic universe which offers, through wandering and walking among fictional and real paths, an emotive connection with the natural setting and an inner, reflective experience of self.
Anna Kafetsi remarks: “The exhibition is designed as a fluid, without predetermined limits metaphorical cartography that connects through an invisible thread with movement, stasis and ritual. Its surface is crossed silently by countless repeated linear paths, with no visible human presence, unique, parallel or eternally intersecting, without pause.
The ‘song lines’ of the Australian Aborigines’ Dream cosmology and paintings, brought to mind by the loan title of the exhibition, opens out to a reading of the works a wide anthropological, intercultural and sociological horizon of intertextuality, together with the endless paths of the earth and sea routes of displacement and migration from the distant past and intersecting with the present.
The transition from the silent Roots in the centre of the Garden, to Stasis, an archetypal nomadic habitat between movement and stillness, takes us to a series of ritual works. It opens with the circular, ecstatic Dance, before we pass through the purifying whiteness of Offering -and of incense-, into the sacred area of the nodal work, Seed balls. In between, intervening works-events evoke the “moment of brightness”: a surprise, a playfulness, a skylight turned to the sky.
In this exhibition in the Megaron Garden, with her ephemeral inhabitation in public space, the artist goes back to where she belongs, to the open air and the community. She searches the site, gathers her materials and metaphors. She composes an archive of moving notes and images. She transports seeds, roots and “still lifes” from other places and times. She “transplants,” and intersects: with manual toil she patiently prepares the creative transformation. Humbly and with discreet interventions in the landscape. Sometimes with an emotional observation and comment, and at others with a direct artistic gesture, she weaves an eco-poetics of the marginal that recycles the “useless” materials of the earth (dry leaves and bark, felled trunks and cut off branches), that cultivates diversity and coexistence with non-human forms of life, and integrates into the artistic process, communal action and participative learning of new approaches to regenerative co-creation with nature.
In her work, Nature and movement/walking always remain a source of genuine feeling and subtle poetic thinking.