Critics’ Picks

Nikos Triantafillou, Attention Paint Attention, 2003–2006.

Nikos Triantafillou, Attention Paint Attention, 2003–2006.

Thessaloniki

“Masquerades: Femininity, Masculinity, and Other Certainties”

Greek State Museum of Contemporary Art
21 Kolokotroni Street, Moni Lazariston
December 6, 2006–February 4, 2007

“Masquerades: Femininity, Masculinity, and Other Certainties” confronts gender stereotypes and their inversions in contemporary Greek art. The exhibition’s core consists of works that employ the body as both object and subject in an attempt to subvert gender conventions. These include two sets of work from the 1970s: some famous Polaroids of Lucas Samaras, and some not-so-famous Conceptual representations of heredity by Athena Tacha. But this show takes up the trope of the “masquerade,” which calls not only for fluidity between femininity and masculinity but also for a hyperbolic exposure and denaturalization of gender. In this vein, Sophia Kosmaoglou offers an immaculately groomed female figure who wavers between the purity of Snow White and the lost grace of Eve. In a more specific social comment, Nikos Triantafillou attacks the symbolic representation of the Greek macho culture in the face of the Evzones—the country’s select ceremonial guard—by decoratively framing a soldier wearing the traditional uniform with an image of a dancing ballerina. Following a similar thread, Alexandros Psyhoulis knits a “little black dress” from the shoelaces of military boots. Not satisfied with merely taking the personal to the political, “Masquerades” offers examples of how gender stereotypes are represented and sanctioned in national Greek discourse.