Critics’ Picks

Installation view of “Prizing Eccentric Talents” at P.E.T. Projects, Athens, 2021.

Installation view of “Prizing Eccentric Talents” at P.E.T. Projects, Athens, 2021.

Athens

“Prizing Eccentric Talents”

P.E.T. Projects
Kerkyras 87
June 9–October 9, 2021

From the street, I’m not sure I’m at the right address. A large frosted window is framed in two-tone blue, with Greek signage that reads ΖΩΓΡΑΦΡΙΚΗ. Google Translate’s camera function assures me that this means PAINTING. Probably a gallery, I think. Inside, I realize it is an installation from Savvas Christodoulides, who added a punny Greek Ρ to inject “freak” into the word. Projected inside under the window is Maria Papadimitriou’s 1992 video Slapping. It shows an artist at work being repeatedly struck, as if to suggest the cartoonish violence of art labor. Despina Charitonidi’s Keels, 2021, a pile of ceramic shark fins—their glaze blooming like mold—evokes a similar, if quieter, brutality.

If this group show were a gesture, it would be the upturned palms of a game-show model. Everyone’s a winner in “Prizing Eccentric Talents” (all exhibition titles at this project space must defer to the “P.E.T.” template). Its colorful opening works segue into a more muted palette as you turn the corner of the L-shaped space, the blacks, blues, and metal hues unexpectedly elegant against the terrazzo floors. Organized by George Bekirakis and P.E.T. Projects initiator Angelo Plessas, the show brings together a multigenerational group of Greek artists to (rather nominally) consider how competition fosters community formation and failure. 

Perhaps a stand-in for pedestals, there are fluted columns aplenty here: printed onto a space-dividing curtain in Andreas Angelidakis’s Stock Column, 2021; interrupting the room as soft, oversize modular furniture for the artist’s KION, 2020; cast in plaster to bracket a collaged ode to cinematic muses in Danai Anesiadou’s La Banquière/Orgy of the damned, 2011. Socratis Socratous’s untitled metallic casts of fronds suggest the ornamentation that might be found on a column’s capital as well as Olympian victory wreaths. Panos Profitis’s many-headed trophy, Chase, 2021—this one atop a bona fide pedestal—furthers the sporting vibes while serving as a reminder that not everyone takes home a prize: The ceramic flower bouquet in Irini Miga’s A micro-climate with expansive views, 2009, droops in deflated defeat.