2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture, in collaboration with Delta Pi Productions & Arts Management, organizes Mystery 19_Initiation as Methodology. From May 18 to June 10, six artists with a strong presence in Greece and abroad come to Elefsina, as part of the Visual Arts (V.A.) Initiator artistic residency program, are inspired by the place and its inhabitants and create works—the fruits of this interchange—highlighting the city’s rare diversity. The presentation of the works will take place on Friday, June 10, as part of a special event/walking tour in various locations around Elefsina, selected by the artists.
The Visual Arts (V.A.) Initiator program, implemented by the ECoC for the second time, aims to introduce young visual artists to the art of in situ installation and site-specific performance, under the supervision of a curatorial team, and to give them the opportunity to experiment with small and medium-scale works. The program creates the necessary conditions for guest artists to develop – during their stay in Elefsina – a close relationship with the city, to experience it, react to its stimuli and reinvent it through their artistic creations.
This year’s version of V.A. Initiator sets off from the deep past, seeking parallels and new openings to the present and the future. By developing the theme of Initiation as Methodology, it aims to develop in two directions: on the one hand, towards strengthening new artistic creation and the acquaintance of the local community with young artists and, on the other hand, towards enhancing the domestic art scene, creative professionals in the field of artistic residency and creating new possibilities in terms of joint synergies.
The 6-member group of artists participating in the residency program was formed following an open call, held in the spring of 2021. They were selected from 135 application from around the world. The six participating artists are the following: Pagona Zali (GR), Timothy Laskaratos (GR), Aimilia Liontou (AT), Maria Nikiforaki (GR), Eleni Mylona (CH), and Kamila Szejnoch (PL).
An important role in the shaping of the program is played by three prominent institutions from the artistic residency sectors, acting as mentors. These are Yellow Brick, Eight/Το Οχτώ and Snehta Residency, who are contributing to the creative process with human resources and expertise, and through a range of processes, themes, poetic nuance and methodology.
The works that will be created by the artistic team under the supervision of the mentors will be the result of a local creative process, the experiential relationship of the participants with the city and its inhabitants and will be presented exclusively in Elefsina. City locations, stories, events and actions will transform the obvious into an artistic or aesthetic event; they will be the occasion for the creation of the ECoC’s tangible and intangible legacy.
Pegy Zali – GR
Pegy Zali is an architect and a visual artist based in Athens. Her work deals with the dynamics of collective unsettled and abnormal actions. This aesthetic inquiry is happening by creating forms through informal tactics and inappropriate procedures for sheltering with the other. Her practice develops through collaborations between artists, curators, researchers and “unskilled” friends.
Pegy has presented her collective work in solo shows at: SPACE, Union Pacific, CASK, and P.E.T Projects; as well as in group shows including: Waste/d, State of Concept, Athens 2022 On the edge of the Blade we run, Koritsas 39, Athens 2019; The Same River Twice, Benaki Museum, Athens 2019; The 4th New Museum Triennial, New Museum, New York 2018; The Equilibrists, Benaki Museum, Athens 2016; Roy Da Prince, Futura, Prague 2016; South by Southeast, Osage Gallery, Hong Kong 2015; and Afresh, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens 2013 and 2nd Athens Biennale – HEAVEN, Faliron 2009; She has been part of the art collective KERNEL, the architectural collective Nomadic Architecture and she is co-founding and active member of the Laboratory for the Urban Commons (www.neocosmos.gr); awarded with the ARTWORKS Stavros Niarchos Fellowship; and is a scholar of the State Scholarships Foundation (IKY) for her PhD research.
Eleni Mylona – GR
Eleni Mylona, creates work that explores the possibilities of language and body, within time and space, and reflects on the relationship of language to imagination. In recent years she has been looking for ways to read, share, move and imagine together, with the intention to create intimate spaces of coexistence.
Her performances, which are presentations of artistic research and/or works for the (public) space, have been featured in festivals, biennials and art exhibitions, and have been presented in theatres, galleries, and research spaces in Athens, Thessaloniki, Zurich, Basel, Berlin, London and Arnhem. In Zurich, over the last 12 years, she has collaborated with the following dance institutions, theatres and research groups: Tanzhaus Zurich, RoteFabrik Theater, Maxim Theater, Holzke, MerumAtelier, Tropchertoshare, Terrasse Ensemble, Tanz+Twicky, OFFDance, etc. as choreographer-movement curator, dance teacher, and maker/performer.
At the same time, from 2007 to the present, she organises as an independent maker and co- organises with organisations, a series of long-term processes for groups, within which dance/movement, reading/writing and dialogue/reflection are the basic compositional and research tools. She teaches contemporary dance (Limon technique) and improvisation to both professional and amateur dancers/actors, as well as to children and adolescents, and has presented a series of seminars and workshops on her artistic research, improvisation, contemporary dance and performance. She graduated from ‘ArtEZ University of the Arts’ in the Netherlands, with a masters degree on artistic research: ‘MA Theatre Practices'(2017-2019). She studied dance at the school of Leonidas de Pian (80-’86) and at the State School of Dance ( K.S.O.T.) (87-’91), and holds a degree in dance teaching from the ‘Higher Professional School’ of Morianova Trasta (2004-2007). She has collaborated as a performer and/or participated by invitation in research projects with Michael Klein, Vera Mantero, Juan Dominguez, Danae Theodoridou, Anna Sanchez, Jean-Paul Jaccarini, and others.
Maria Nikiforaki – GR
Maria is a visual artist working in the intersection of performance art, film and dance. She uses choreography and film strategies to introduce social connotation to the movement and body, searching for performative practices that can introduce emotional worlds as a political stance. Her art explores the personal and the political through a scope of choreo-politics.
Maria graduated from Athens School of Fine Arts with Distinction (2012) and completed her Masters at the MFA Fine Arts at Goldsmiths College of London (2015). She was given the Vikatos Foundation Scholarship (2013) and has received many awards: ARTWORKS Stavros Niarchos Foundation Award (2019), Trinity Laban Dance Award, MA Choreography Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (2019), Performance Voyage 3 Festival Video Performance Award, Artists’ Association MUU, Helsinki (2013).
Maria has participated in numerous Art exhibitions and Festivals, among those: Unhappy Monuments (OPANDA & ARTWORKS, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, 2020), Learning From Documenta Workshop 4 – d14/Narratives Reshuffled (ASFA, Anthropological Research Laboratory and Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, 2017), GOMENES (Athens Biennalle “OMONOIA” 2015- 2017), Latitude Festival (Big Screen Film Festival, London England, 2014 and 2015), Performative Labour-ism (Performance Festival, MPABerlin, Month of Performance, Berlin Germany, 2014), Performance Voyage 3 (Film Festival, Helsinki Finland, 2013), Excentricités 3 (Performance Festival, Besançon France, 2012). Maria lives and works between Athens and London.
Timothy Laskaratos – GR
Timothy Laskaratos (born 1987) is a half-Greek, half-New Zealander visual artist who lives and works in Athens. He is a graduate of the Athens School of Fine Arts (2020) and has participated in group shows at Zoumboulakis Gallery, Inertia I and II, Snehta Residency and One Minute Space OMS. He is a maker, a stroller and a gardener, approaching issues of liminality, the vanity of everyday livelihood and memory through installation pieces. Walking is a core tool in his practice. He scavenges materials, plants, sounds, images and narratives from the urban and rural landscape, notations that indicate the inseparability of memory and place. Storytelling, which remains central to his practice, appears until now in the form of letters, where biography is introduced as fiction. Text and material compositions “act” simultaneously on the “stage” of the occasional exhibition space, producing installations and immersive environments that allow spectators to wander through physical and mental spaces, through direct and distant places. He will soon be a post-graduate student of In Situ3 at the Royal Academy of Antwerp (2022-23).
Αimilia Liontou – GR
Αimilia Liontou (b. 1991, Athens) lives and works between Athens and Linz. She graduated from the Athens School of Fine Arts and holds a Master’s Degree in Time-based Media from Kunstuniversität Linz. She was selected for the Local Artist Residency programme of the Atelierhaus Salzamt (2020-22), she was ARTWORKS fellow (SNF) in 2020 and she won the Arbeiterkammer Art Award in 2020. Her work is characterised by interdisciplinary practice, research and use of different materials and mediums, depending on the thematic. At the same time, she avoids the classical ‘studio practice’ and prefers to develop smaller or larger in situ ‘situations’, which are placed on the liminal space between art and reality and frequently make use of humor. She participated in exhibitions in Greece and abroad.
Kamila Szejnoch – PL
Kamila Szejnoch – visual artist – living and working in Warsaw, Poland. She deals with art in public space, specifically installations, sculpture and urban interventions. She worked in many cities, among others in Warsaw, Oslo, Belgrade, Yerevan, Birmingham, Kiev, Seoul, Washington. She is a graduate of the Sculpture Department at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (2005) and also Social Policy at the Warsaw University (2003). In 2008 she completed Public Research & Practice in Art at the Dutch Art Institute in the Netherlands. She was granted the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage artistic scholarship, a residency from the International Visegrad Fund, as well as the Swiss Government’s one-year stipend for artistic development in Switzerland. Her projects have been realized in cooperation with institutions such as Centre for Contemporary Art “Łaźnia” (Gdańsk), Studio Gallery (Warsaw), Incheon Art Platform (South Korea), Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, European Capital of Culture Wrocław 2016.