Athens, Greece

Jennifer Nelson, Democracy is a party, 2019, HD video, color, sound, 10 minutes 53 seconds. From “Anatomy of Political Melancholy.”

Jennifer Nelson, Democracy is a party, 2019, HD video, color, sound, 10 minutes 53 seconds. From “Anatomy of Political Melancholy.”

“Anatomy of Political Melancholy”

The Schwarz Foundation at Athens Conservatoire

An appropriate setting for a show titled “Anatomy of Political Melancholy,” the Athens Conservatoire was envisaged as part of an ambitious Bauhaus-style cultural complex designed by architect Ioannis Despotopoulos, much of which was left unbuilt; in 1976, not long after the fall of the Greek military junta, construction was halted for lack of funding. The show’s portrayals of individual desperation and collective surrender by twenty-four artists imparted a widespread sense of hopelessness as a political affect: an emotional disorder encompassing disorientation, disillusionment, disenfranchisement, disaffection, and resignation triggered by pervasive sociopolitical contradictions.

The tone of the exhibition, curated by Katerina Gregos, was set by bold texts stenciled on the pristine modernist walls, part of the ongoing project The Tourists—a campaign (#make yourselves at home), 2015–, by

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