ATOPOS cvc welcomes Alexis Fidetzis as the main artist for the programme #OccupyAtopos2021, designed to mark the 200 year anniversary of the Greek revolution. Fidetzis will curate the hybrid, ever-evolving project #Revolting Bodies, where his own personal artistic practice will interact with that of invited contributors and collaborators.
Generally speaking a Revolution is considered to be a collective’s justified reaction in the face of an oppressive status quo. Through the narratives surrounding revolutionary actions, groups forge their collective consciousness while at the same time define what is missing in order for them to be free. Therefore the notion itself carries a political and historical weight that colors the actions and the expectations of the people revolting with a certain moral justification.
Interestingly, the historical success of the whole endeavour is to an extent bound to this justification that is in term interlinked with the characterisation of the uprising as revolutionary, as within the term, one finds the morality behind aggressive and violent actions. As a result, one can see why even reactionary regimes tend to use the term Revolution in order to gain some of the legitimacy that it implies.
Consequently, the just claim that is supposedly contained within the term, turns the revolutionary narrative into an archetypal battle between right and wrong, good vs evil. This monolithic approach of a Revolution morphs the act of revolt into a cornerstone of a group's collective fantasy, while with the establishment of subsequent regimes, a reverence towards the revolutionary myth becomes a factor of social cohesion.
Narratives, however, have the potential to define experience. In the case of revolutions, the moment ideologies and narratives affect the human body, they are cut off from the world of ideas and inscribed into the realm of the real. At that moment, their idealistic character is fragmented and they become struggle, violence and imposition as the concept becomes a raw and brutal actuality.
The relationship between fantasy and physicality continues after each revolution as well, mainly by the established dominant institutions through a wide range of practices. From traditional costumes to public monuments and military parades, state institutions come to idealize the revolution that brought them to life and impose the reproduction of its narrative on the bodies of the next generations who in turn become the bearers of the official institutional discourse.
The project aims to integrate the Greek Revolution into a broader dialogue about the revolutionary phenomenon that to an extent defined modernity, avoiding the glorious, grand narratives and immersing into the stories of the bodies upon which both the revolutionary action and the mythologies around it are imposed. Bodies defined by gender or race, factual or mythical, tender and brutal, glorified and beheaded. Through these bodies we will see the revolution as something more than an archetypical manichaeistic battle. We will investigate the means of turning the individual into a hero and also the revolutionary narrative into a structural element of the national imagination.
#RevoltingBodies will take over the entire physical space of ATOPOS, transforming its neoclassical building in downtown Athens into its ”Revolutionary headquarters”. A series of installations, actions, workshops and publications will be presented through the participation of theorists and visual artists from Greece and abroad. The project will conclude with a group exhibition that will take place from October to December 2021.
This website is a digital space that mirrors the physical ”Revolutionary headquarters” of ATOPOS cvc as will be hosting original artworks and research material open to the public throughout the duration of the project.
Alexis Fidetzis was born in Athens where he currently resides and works. He studied painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA) and the Munich Kunstakademie while he got his MFA at the Pratt Institute in New York City where he focused on research-based artistic practices. He recently completed his second master’s degree on modern Greek history at the School of Philosophy in the University of Athens. He is a doctoral candidate at ASFA.
Fidetzis uses historical research as a means of artistic creation in an effort to diagnose current social, cultural and political issues. He is interested in the institutional management of collective social trauma alongside the ways in which power structures shape our common past. For his work he has been awarded by institutions in Greece and abroad, including the Onassis and Niarchos Foundations, while his work has been presented in group and solo exhibitions in Greece, France, Germany, Switzerland and the USA.
#OccupyAtopos Is the artist residency programme of ATOPOS cvc. The main focus of the program is on interdisciplinary research and the study of contemporary visual culture of the human body. It will emphasize the embodied experience and the narrated character of the gendered and racialized body, personal and collective trauma, memory, systems of embodied cognition, as well as the relationship between the body, social justice, and ecology. Its mission is to observe and support the creative process of emerging artists, designers, curators, and thinkers.
The word ‘atopos’, from the ancient Greek word "ἄτοπος", means out of space and out of the way and refers to that which is strange, unwonted, eccentric, and disgusting, but also to the foul and the unclassifiable.
Among others, some of the artists that have so far participated are The Callas, Craig Green, Ren Hang, Bouchra Khalili, Nevin Aladag, Daniel Knorr, Imbrahim Mahama, FYTA, Antigoni Tsagkaropoulou, Aimee Le, Tomashi Jackson.