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Athen SYN I
Festival & Exhibition of Contemporary Greek Art in Berlin


November 15, 2019 - February 1, 2020, FREIRAUM in der Box, Boxhagener Str 96, 10245 Berlin

On November 14, 2019, at 7pm, the festival Athen SYN I will open its doors with the exhibition HOMEMADE EXOTICA,  curated by Sotirios Bahtsetzis,  at FREIRAUM in der Box, Boxhagener Str. 96, Berlin Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. 16 contemporary Greek artists will present their positions and discuss questions that the documenta14 left open to further evaluation.

What can "learning from Athens" mean in a time of upheaval for Europe, in which all values rooted in European soil that underpin our cultural heritage are questioned? What is left after the demystification of a country which has been subject to stereotyping since 18th century philhellenism, labeled a tourist paradise, and imprinted with the stigma of the crisis? Why are these questions essential for social coexistence in an ethically corroded system?

In lectures and panel discussions during the program ATHENS TALKS  on15 -16 November 2019, artists investigate co-existence in a world full of preconceived notions and expectations of the Other, the practices of art production in a failing market, and survival strategies based on communality, mutual support, and individual contribution to the community. At the same time, they discuss why Athens remains a hub of challenges and transformations that should be addressed by a European culture that seems to have reached its present state of exhaustion.

Participating artists and their works

Dionisis  Christofilogiannis / George Drivas / Alexandros Kaklamanos /
Dionysis Kavallieratos /Georgia Kotretsos/ James Lane / Yorgos Maraziotis / Georgia Sagri/ Yorgos Stamkopoulos/ Joulia Strauss / Vassileia Stylianidou /
Yiannis Theodoropoulos / Stefanos Tsivopoulos/ Dimitris Tzamouranis /
Zafos Xagoraris / Theodoros Zafeiropoulos

The artworks of the exhibition HOMEMADE EXOTICA induce an almost experiential immersion and invite viewers to become participant in the artworks’ area of research, the Athenian life and its fragile poetics - while at the same time inviting the viewer to dismantle narratives around a mythical place of ancient and contemporary times. Athens acts as a prime example for stereotyping images and utopias of "the other" which tend to get in the way of essential communication and exchange, no matter which whom or what.

Some artworks tend to surround the every day, mundane and almost invisible with mystique, fantasy and grace. This exotic re-enchantment of our world is often done by paying particular attention to the small details of private interiors – as in the photographs of Yannis Theodoropoulos, the installations of Yorgos Maraziotis– or personal mementos as in the assemblages of James Lane.

Other works apply the visual rhetoric of the past, that being the techniques of Renaissance-like, chiaroscuro painting, as in the paintings of Dimitris Tzamouranis, the detailed observation of society as in the drawings of Dionysis Kavallieratos, or even the dismantling of abstract painting in the painterly installations by Yorgos Stamkopoulos.

Hidden facets of Athenian life are uncovered –  in the photographs of Georgia Sagri, the paintings of Theodoris Zafeiropoulos, the videos of Stefanos Tzivopoulos as well as the witty actions of Georgia Kotretsos. Joulia Strauss unveils aspects of characters shaping the intellectual life of the city. Cultural stereotypes and biased points of view are discussed; as well as cultural cross-overs and entanglements –  in the installations of Zafos Xagoraris, the photographs of Dionisis Christofilogiannis, the videos of George Drivas, the videos of Alexandros Kaklamanos and the video-installations of Vassilea Stylianidou.

ATHEN SYN I: Program

Thursday, November 14, 2019
7pm Exhibition opening

Friday, November 15, 2019
2pm, 4pm, 6pm
Guided exhibition tour with curator Sotirios Bahtsetzis

Saturday, November 16, 2019
2pm Guided exhibition tour
3pm Talk by curator Sotirios Bahtsetzis „A documenta epilogue"
Georgia Kotretsos „Do you speak Exotic?”
Dimitris Tzamouranis „Melancholie in der Kunst – eine Betrachtung von Aristoteles bis heute”
Georgos Drivas „Exoticizing and exoticized. A non-existing Greece in a non-existing Europe"
Joulia Strauss „Lectureperformance: Eine Rechtsform für die Garten-Mensch Hybride“
5.30pm Open podium discussion
6.30pm Guided exhibition tour

In cooperation with Dock11, there will be a performance program “Home-Made MoVe”, curated by Yannis Adoniou, from November 21-December 1, 2019, with artists Yannis Adoniou, Maria Gorgia/ Amalgama,  Timos Zechas, Anastasia Brouzioti, Stavros Apostolatos.



Press: ARTEFAKT Kulturkonzepte, Damaris Schmitz &, Elisabeth Friedrich, Tel: +49 (0)30-440 10 686,,


Image credits
1. Dimitris Tzamouranis, Melancholia Altar 2012, Polyptychon 4,20 X 640, Oil on wood, courtesy Michael Haas gallery Berlin. Photo Jens Kunath
2. George Drivas, Empirical Data, Single or Dual Channel HD Video with Sound 2009, courtesy of the artist, photo copyright George Drivas
3. Yannis Theodoropoulos, Television, from the series homescape 2018, Lambda print on Aluminium 40x60, courtesy of the artist Photo Yannis Theodoropoulos
4. Georgia Sagri 2013 ed 2019 Diana Very Dog, framed Lambda C Print 82 x 5 x 62 cm, courtesy of the artist










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Festival donors



Under the patronage of



With support of