If you live in Thessaloniki, it is impossible not to have heard about Biennále: 6 of Contemporary Art. It is one of the most successful Art events that, alongside the Thessaloniki International Film Festival (one of the biggest Southeastern Europe’s cinema events), brings thousands of visitors to this promising European city.
Also, it was surprising for me to discover a new place in the city, having been here for 6 months already. This is probably due to the fact of not having so much free time – I mean, weekends – in Thessaloniki. In my defence, having arrived in the Spring, I was trying to enjoy the beauty of Greece and make the most of the good weather, as I knew that in the Winter I would not have the will to go out, to travel around, and to go to the islands (who goes to the islands during the raining season, anyway?). So, now that I have stayed here for two consecutive weekends (yes, I am sick), I discovered my new favorite spot in the city: Moni Lazariston, in Stavroupoli.
I was happy there, spending one entire morning in the State Contemporary Museum of Thessaloniki.
As a former student of Fine Arts, I can easly loose myself in this kind of museums, especially when the exibitions are of Contemporary Art. Looking around, discovering this museum specialized in Russian Avant-garde Art, talking with the people in order to know more about this cultural place, and watching the performance videos of Ana Mendieta took me, just on the first of the three floors of the Museum, more than 2 hours. Well, these videos were actually my favourite art works of these “Imagined Homes” (the theme of this 6th edition of Thessaloniki Biennále) present in the State Museum.
This event is still going until the 14th January 2018 in the city and, if you haven’t had the time until now, maybe you can use the Christmas holidays to enjoy it. You can also look up the Mount Athos Center, in Egnatias Street, the Contemporary Art Center of Thessaloniki, by the Port, or the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, at TIF-Helexpo. All of them have exhibitions of Biennále art.
Returning to the artist, Mendieta explores the human body like no one. She puts herself in the middle of the debate of sexuality in a society shapped by sexist ideologies and dominant males, and tries, at the same time, to discover the connection between the human being and the enviroment. Some of her art pieces naturally become not just performances, but Land Art. Her work is violent, raw but true and for this reason she caught my attention and conquered a new fan.
The rest of the exhibition inside the State Museum is also worth to check. Developed under various supports and materials, from wood sculptures, paintings, videos and documentaries to neon-lights or modern furniture, the next floor continues whispering to you the stories behind the artists’ home ideas. Different results and approaches, coming from no less different points of view and conceptions, make you automatically think about the true meaning of this concept. Is it family? Friends? Acceptance? Security? Stability? Or is it “just a state of mind” as signed by Rod Ladgrove?
Last but not least, on the third floor of the museum, you can see now part of the permanent exhibition consistant of Russian Avant-garde art works.
Take a deep breath, change your “contemporary mood” and start again: it is time to apreciate Konstantin Vialov, Ivan Puni, Vsevolod Sulimo-Samuilo, Solomon Nikritin, Ivan Kliun.
Photographs by Mafalda Tenazinha