A pangram (Greek: παν γράμμα, pan gramma, "every letter")
or holoalphabetic sentence is a sentence using every letter of a given alphabet at least once. Pangrams have been used to display typefaces, test equipment, and develop skills in handwriting, calligraphy, and keyboarding. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pangram, accessed: 20.1.20, 2:16 pm)
A slogan is a memorable motto or phrase used in a clan, political, commercial, religious, and other context as a repetitive expression of an idea or purpose, with the goal of persuading members of the public or a more defined target group. The Oxford Dictionary of English defines a slogan as "a short and striking or memorable phrase used in advertising." A slogan usually has the attributes of being memorable, very concise and appealing to the audience. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slogan, accessed: 22.1.20, 11:46 am).
Pangrams and Slogans opens almost a year to the day we visited the Epigraphic Museum of Athens with Dora Economou along with other artists and curators at the invitation of Art Athina. They wanted to organize a group exhibition that would run parallel to the 2019 edition of the fair in which contemporary artists would respond to the museum’s impressive collection of inscriptions from the eight century BC to the Late Roman period, mostly in Greece.
After a captivating walkthrough with archeologist Irene Choremi in the rooms of this especially elegant museum, we sat with Dora at the café of the Archaeological Museum, a few steps away, to discuss what she might want to show next to displays of inscribed slabs of marble or stone and clay fragments recording daily life in ancient Greece, from cost-accounts of the construction of the Parthenon, to carved notes such as “meet you at dusk” (the equivalent of text-messages). Dora identifies herself as a sculptor, though she has made several detailed, large-scale drawings, is an avid photographer still enjoying analog processes, and a gifted writer, in both English and Greek.
She proposed to make drawings of pangrams, in the two languages she has excellent command of, Greek and English and add French with a little help from google translate. She would also design an original typeface for each language. I didn’t know much about pangrams so she pulled out her phone and showed me examples, there are hundreds of them online in practically every language, they are ready-made phrases, authors unknown except in rare cases.
In the spring of 2019 we were told the Epigraphic Museum project had been cancelled. Dora had already selected the most amusing, absurd, sparkling phrases and finished six of the eight drawings. We decided to show them at Radio Athènes instead. In the meantime she was also playing around with catchy phrases from tv commercials. Some were from the eighties —I think not a single person in Greece who lived in a household with a television receiver will fail to recognize them. These ads legacy survived in the following decades. Her Slogans idea somehow sprung from her long-standing fascination with Ingeborg Bachmann’s The Good God of Manhattan (1958), a radio play about the impossibility of love in the social order, conflicting discourses at the apex of the Cold War, and the constant bombardment of indoctrinating slogans through the mass media. To keep it symmetrical, Dora used slogans from ad campaigns in Greek, French and English to create what you might call concrete poetry, or Dadaist poetry, or a form of linguistic conceptualism with a sense of humour, and inscribed them on the Radio Athènes walls using her customized typefaces.
Dora Economou was born in Athens (1974) where she lives and works. She is a graduate of the Athens School of Fine Art and Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Recent solo exhibitions include “Representation”, Radio Athènes (2019), “Imbat Ambit” (together with Yasemin Nur) (2019) & “Mountains & Valleys” (2016), Francoise Heitsch gallery, Munich, “Naturalist”, Ribot gallery, Milan (2015), “PREDEAL”, The Breeder, Athens & “A Modern Hug”, Francoise Heitsch gallery, Munich (2014), “By The Spring (Of Production)”, Loraini Alimantiri GazonRouge, Athens (2011). Group exhibitions include: “A.O.-B.C. An Audiovisual Diary” curated by Vicky Zioga, Electra Karatza, Maria Adela Konomi, Lydia Markaki and iLiana Fokianaki, State of Concept, Athens, “I’ll open the door straight, dead straight into the fire” curated by the collective What, How and for Whom / WHW, State of Concept, Athens & Gallery Nova, Zagreb, “Landlord Colors: On Art, Economy, and Materiality” curated by Laura Mott, Cranbrook Art Museum, Michigan, USA, “Voyage around my Room” curated by Kika Kyriakakou, City of Athens Arts Center (2019), “Geometries” curated by Locus Athens, Agricultural University of Athens, “The Materiality of the Painterly Event” curated by Denys Zacharopoulos, City of Athens Arts Center (2018), “Reassembly” curated by G Douglas Barrett & Petros Touloudis, Tinos Quarry Platform (2017), “Hypnos Project” curated by Yorgos Tzirtzilakis & Theophilos Traboulis, Onassis Foundation Cultural Center, Athens (2016), “Life Like”, Transmission, Glasgow (2015), “Family Ghosts” Calling at Family Business curated by Nadia Argyropoulou, New York (2013), “Monodrome”, 3rd Athens Biennial curated by Nicolas Bourriaud, Xenia Kalpaktsoglou, Poka-Yio (2011), “Heaven”, 2nd Athens Biennial curated by Christopher Marinos (2009), “Point of Origin” curated by Gary Pearson, Artspace Visual Arts Centre, Sydney (2008), “In Present Tense” curated by Tina Pandi, Sotiris Schizakis, Dafni Vitali, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (2007), “Part time punks” curated by the Callas, DESTE Foundation, Athens (2007), 4th DESTE Prize, DESTE Foundation, Athens (2005). She has participated in residencies and workshops: “Island Hopping” (2019) and “At The Baths” (2016) by Sterna Residency Projects, Nisyros, “Experimental Education Protocol” by Angelo Plessas, Delphi Annex of the Athens School of Fine Arts (2017), “The violent No! of the sun burns the forehead of hills. Sand fleas arrive from salt lake and most of the theatres close.” by the Fiorucci Art Trust and 14th Istanbul Biennial, Kastelorizo, Greece (2015), Harold Arts, Ohio (2012), Palinesti, San Vito al Tagliamento (2009), Artspace Visual Arts Centre, Sydney (2008), Scanning Istanbul (2005), Triangle Artist in Residence Program in DUMBO, Brooklyn, Royal School of Architecture, Copenhagen (2004).
Hours are Wednesday 4-8pm,
Saturday 12-4pm and by appointment.
Radio Athènes is supported by Outset Contemporary Art Fund (Greece)