Standing stoically in neo-Byzantine style against the luscious surroundings of the Giardini, the Greek Pavilion echoes both a potent Greek historic past as well as the hosting city’s Venetian-Byzantine nuances. Ironically enough given this year’s theme, since the Greek Pavilion’s inception in 1931, it has struggled with financing due to socio-political instability. This year, artist-in-residence Stefanos Tsivopoulos chose to confront the country’s current financial and social state through art. Aptly named History Zero, the exhibition seeks to trigger thoughts, challenge perceptions and open a multi-faceted discourse on human and monetary value systems that extend beyond the affairs of Greece.
The much-publicised Greek crisis might have served as inspiration and starting point for History Zero, but Tsivopoulos’ ultimate goal is to raise questions about human relationships and value systems as a whole. The work comprises of a three-part film fusing human stories and reflections on values – monetary and beyond. An accompanying archival display of non-monetary value systems of exchange evokes not only a well-documented past, but also a present that Greece is painfully reliving, as Greeks face a return to bartering in order to make ends meet. One country’s case in point then spawns immediate queries, such as the global nature of the crisis, as well as deeper disputes about human values. By examining the past and present, Tsivopoulos seeks to open a dialogue for the future.
Prague-born Stefanos Tsivopoulos has been sharing his time between Amsterdam, New York and Athens, juggling a prolific creativity involving mainly video and installation, with shows and residencies around the world. Recent solo exhibitions include The Future Starts Here in Elefsina, Greece (curated by Syrago Tsiara who is also this year’s Greek Pavilion curator), Borrowed Knowledge in New York and Amnesialand in Milan. Tsivopoulos has also participated in group shows from Paris’ renowned Centre Pompidou to the vast Manarat Museum in Abu Dhabi.
Artist: Stefanos Tsivopoulos
Commissioner: Hellenic Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Culture and Sports.
Curator: Syrago Tsiara.
Venue: Pavilion at Giardini
About The Culture Trip’s Venice Biennale Project
The 55th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale will take place from 1 June – 24 November. The Culture Trip’s Venice Biennale Series is an article series leading up to the start of the exhibition. With 88 countries participating in this year’s Biennale — 10 of them for the first time — and 150 artists from 37 countries, our coverage over the next couple of months will highlight a selection of the National Pavilions that will be participating in the 2013 edition of the Venice Biennale. Watch the Biennale page on our site or The Culture Trip’s Facebook page for our daily Biennale articles and updates.
By Danai Molocha