The City of Athens Culture, Sports & Youth Organisation is pleased to present the first institutional solo exhibition of the Greek-German artist Christina Dimitriadis, organised at the City of Athens Arts Centre from 9 November 2018 to 3 February 2019.
The exhibition, titled Island Hoping, presents the artist’s new photographic project. Island Hoping – an optimistic wordplay on the notion of island hopping – explores images and myths of the Mediterranean, a geographical entity, but above all an imagined reality, in which the appreciation of beauty and a collective spirit are deeply ingrained. The Mediterranean is sometimes described as a cultural space, but in fact its historical and political reality has always been more complex.
In these meticulously structured photographs, islands and rock formations emerge from the sea in an indeterminate landscape. Due to their morphology and ruggedness, the rocky shores of the Aegean islands evoke ambiguous emotions that lie between optimism, hope, and uncertainty. Christina Dimitriadis’s aesthetic approach transforms the landscape from hospitable to barren.
The starting point for the series was a black-and-white photograph of Helgoland, an island in the North Sea with a distinctive political and geographical history. It is also the birthplace, on the maternal side, of the Dimitriadis family and the beginning of a continuous biography of migration. Past and future, individual and collective flow together, making Island Hoping a hybrid of North and South.
Christina Dimitriadis notes, "Through these small, rocky islands, I sought to focus on a distinctive landscape, which mostly goes unnoticed. These photographs compose a different kind of ‘map’ of Greece, a second reading of the country, questioning commonplace, stereotypical imaging."
The first segment of Island Hoping is on view until December 2018 at the State Museum of Baden Schloss Karlsruhe for the New Annual Studio Solo Exhibition under the auspices of Global Culture 2018. The complete series is now on display at the Athens Municipality Arts Centre, with the support of NEON and contributions from the Municipality of Fournoi Korseon, EuroMare, and Eleni Koroneou Gallery.
The exhibition curator, Denys Zacharopoulos, remarks:
"This project casts a penetrating gaze on limits as moving, variable focal points, as borders, or walls, both threatening and sheltering at the same time. In this photographic series featuring islets of the Aegean, devoid of human presence, the human element is suggested by the limit, whether visible or not, which pops up between us in the form of either a desert or inhabited space. Each rocky island in the series “Island Hoping” is a placeless place and, as such, it may be a stop on the journey; it may also be the final destination."
These photos were taken on Fournoi Korseon, perhaps the largest archipelago, bounded by the islands of Ikaria, Patmos, and Samos – a location of great geological, geopolitical, and historical importance, sadly prominent in world news coverage on account of having the largest number of shipwrecks since ancient times and, tragically, being on the deadly path of migration today.