The Schwarz Foundation is pleased to announce its 1st major exhibition in #Athens, following the opening of the Foundation’s Art Space Pythagorion in #Samos in 2012. The exhibition, entitled Anatomy of Political Melancholy, probes the increasing and widespread loss of faith in politics and politicians today. The 24 international artists and one artist’s group in it probe different aspects of our current political discontent, explore its effects on the older and the younger generation, and examine how this disillusionment with our present political condition in Europe has created a sense of impasse and how it manifests itself in our everyday lives and in the public domain. Philosopher Lieven de Cauter has called this phenomenon ‘political melancholy’.
We are increasingly witnesses to the debasement of political language, the infantilisation and polarisation of political debate; the growth of a simplified discourse that panders to collective fears rather than addressing the real, pressing questions; the lack of accountability from politicians, and of course, ‘fake truth’ and ‘alternative facts’. Clearly there is something profoundly wrong with contemporary politics: it is not only a case of the moral and intellectual inadequacy of politicians, but also the gaping chasm between the aims of politicians and the needs of citizens. The foundations of democracy itself are at risk, not only from the rise of demagogic populism in Europe, but also from the grip of financial institutions and mega-corporations, which have the power to influence the political agenda.
Greece, of course, best exemplifies the loss of sovereignty due to debt, where ordinary citizens have been forced to bail out a country driven to financial collapse by government mismanagement. The longstanding economic and political crisis in the country has led to political disillusionment, mistrust of institutions, a sense of collective powerlessness, and a post-ideological phase characterized by apathy, individualism, and resignation. And of course, political melancholy (in Greece as in other European countries) is fundamentally tied to financial melancholy and austerity politics.
At a time when ideologies tend to divide people instead of uniting them; that condemn instead of bringing about understanding and respect, the exhibition attempts to map the contemporary pathology of politics and asks us to reflect anew on our individual political responsibilities. It aspires to encourage us to reject political apathy and instead believe in the power of both individual as well as collective agency. The exhibition comes at a timely moment: both in Greece (with elections coming up in October this year) but also in Europe (with European Parliamentary elections in May - expected to change the EU’s political dynamic - and of course the continuing Brexit impasse).
The exhibition will take place in the lower-ground floor space of the Ωδείον Αθηνών - Athens Conservatoire.
Katerina Zacharopoulou has designed the exhibition's educational event.