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Greece and Cyprus-based artist Marina Genadieva is showing here a work that is radically isolated from the context of her general opus. Tautologically named "Dandelion" the representation of this wild edible weed is made of organza, thread and wire.  It is photographed for the Proxy Gallery in such a way that it appears as a giant plant in a room. In fact, the dimensions of the work are 36 x 36 x 12 centimeters. Moreover, the work and the gallery are elevated to eye level, so the weed is no longer on the ground at our feet, but placed at the level where a painting would normally be.

The work is part of a long-term project in which Genadieva focuses on the natural elements in the no-man’s-land between the Greek and Turkish parts of Cyprus. Interestingly, the name in Greek translates as Dead Zone, and the artist wants to emphasize that the “dead zone” is not a void; that living plants and animals exist “free” among the active mines of this area. The work is political in that it locates its inspiration in a contested--and heavily guarded-- space between two borders; it is a “wild” territory that is both natural and dangerous. On the other hand, the representation of the wild dandelion plant here is explicitly non-natural. It is made of beautifully crafted translucent material, but it also insists on representing the browned decaying parts of the leaves in the front. In this way, the work questions the supposed opposition between politics and nature, living and dead zones, presenting life within war.

Marina Genadieva

August 1-31, 2022

The performance Outburst-Conjugation 2 by Renée Petropoulos took place in Proxy Athens on June 16, 2022, at the Athens School of Fine Arts. Artists Marianna Athanasiou, Artemis Chatziathanasiadou-Dede, Erifili Doukeli and Philippos Vasileiou also participated with actions of their own. The Proxy Gallery is performative in its own right, as a play on the "white cube" (literally) and institutional critique. In this sense it is a platform upon a platform. Petropoulos used the Proxy/platform for speaking, by appearing in the gallery as a disembodied talking head, facing both forward towards the audience and towards the back of the gallery. Her speech thus took multiple meanings: as a kind of self-expression in which the head and brain are emphasized at the expense of the rest of the body. The artist used the gallery as a kind of loudspeaker that both amplifies and limits or contains speech. It is important to note that the photographs are cropped to the gallery box only, while the audience present on the day of the performance could see the whole body with Petropoulos’s head in the box. 

Petropoulos's speech was each a 2-3 minute meditation, improvised,  that raised the question of the function of speech as self-expression and as protest, while ostensibly discussing family, vacation, and labor. Consistent with the idea that the self is largely constituted through discourse, the performance calls attention to the possibility of speaking through an institution, in order to make both the institution and the self visible. The head is contained in the box, but it also encompasses the architecture of it, the discursive space. The outburst, the rant, suggests criticality heretofore suppressed, possibly anger. Video documentation will soon be uploaded here.

​Marianna Athanasiou performed silently while wearing a hairy mask with only one eye opening and with a rubber vagina in place of her mouth. Athanasiou moved her sole visible eye up, down and sideways for about two minutes, enacting the object of the gaze that also looks back at the viewer like a contemporary Olympia and perhaps silently comments on being doubly trapped: inside a mask and inside a box-gallery. The eye/I is trying to see the limits of its confinement from inside those limits. The silent enactment performs the question: What would genital speech be like?

 Erifili Doukeli’s head appeared silent and expressionless for several minutes while friends crouching below covered her face and gallery space with blank pieces of paper, crumpled and not, followed by adding loose pieces of transparent packing tape that kept the papers attached to her face and the gallery box. The effect at times was that of a waste basket holding her head and various papers, or of a head overwhelmed by the possibilities of writing. 

Finally, Artemis Chatziathanasiadou-Dede stood with her head in the gallery, and engaged in an exaggerated makeup ritual that started with black eyeliner and red lipstick to continue with an increasingly grotesque marking of her face and upper arms with red lipstick lines and smeared black eyeliner.  Crumpled packing tape was crudely cut with scissors and stuck on her face, adding an element of danger and blindness to her performance. 

Based on the location of the Proxy Gallery in the central room of the school of Fine Arts in Athens, Fillipos Vasiliou made a short video that, among other things, emphasized his body as a continuation of his head inside a gallery that is also an art work inside another larger gallery. Through the hair, the head is connected to "payload," a mechanism which in a few days will connect to a balloon and will rise to the sky. In this way he insists on the connection between machine and body.

Renée Petropoulos

Proxy Athens June 16, 2022

Check Your Surroundings starts with a series of color images with three different size images belonging in a series of 21 images.  These were taken with a digital camera of the back- up camera inside different vehicles.  There are different ways to engage the car in reverse to shoot with the back-up camera while the hatch of the car is open and in different angles.

There are at least 6 steps involved in the exhibition:

1) A picture is shown on the car screen when the car is in reverse. 2) Artist takes a cellphone picture of that screen 3) The picture is printed on paper. 4) The print, taped on a piece of cardboard, is taken to the location of the back-up picture and a picture is taken of that print against the bigger landscape. 5) The final picture is placed on the back "wall" of the Proxy Gallery. The sixth step is that you are now seeing the Proxy exhibition through another digital screen, a computer or cell phone.

Stolich's project is about sorting one camera image inside another and examining mediated urban space as well as looking at the endless reproducibility of the photograph. She does this in such a way that the pictorial content recedes into the background and we begin to see the picture within a picture within a picture.  In other pictures in her series, the photographs depict rural and urban spaces amongst Los Angeles’s vast urban sprawl .  There are pictures of pictures of control panels, and pictures of epic sceneries. This is certainly a “place” you should “check your surroundings.”   Check your Surroundings takes us to the beach and to the urban curb for fruit in Venice.  It goes in the back roads of Topanga and sees the skyline of Monterey. Each image is unique and defines rural and urban space in its own way.

Whitney Stolich

February 18-April 30, 2022

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