INSIDE THIS YEAR'S SANTORINI BIENNALE: ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND: INTERVIEW WITH KYRIAKOS K. PAPADOPOULOS

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1. The Santorini Biennale is back for its 3rd Edition in September 2016. What can we expect to see at this year’s event ?

At this 3rd Edition we are working towards narrating “personal stories” that are able to positively impact the mental life of the individual. Our aim is to examine and see what the process of maturity is; how it comes and with what degree of criticism, i.e., what is happening in the “hole” and if the concept of “relativity” has place in what we call “personal maturity”.

We will present Alice as an object and this object will be called to create a new environment where it will be given the ability to breathe, to think, to move, to criticize itself, to criticize its actions, its values and all the axioms that it will create. Alice is starting from the point ZERO.

" Humanity has arrived at a point where it has too many pathogenesis and I believe that we need to look back and to re-start, but first we need to create the environment, i.e., the hole and then - without any excuses such as a rabbit - enter into it and travel through it."

2. What have been some of the challenges and the highlights since the 1st Edition of the Santorini Biennale in 2012 ?

The most important challenge for us is to create and establish an international space in Santorini in which artists from all over the world and of different disciples can not only exhibit, but also diffuse their personal philosophy into the minds of society.

" As founder of this Biennale, my aim was to create a “mechanism” that examines social issues and produces change with an input from the arts. "

This experiment is still in progress and I am very delighted to see the artists remain at the heart as the main component in all this. 

During the 1st edition, we produced the biggest Biennale in the world: 24 exhibition spaces and about 330 artists from all over the world. It was an amazing project but kind of an “alien” that came into a local society therefore we continuously find ourselves asking where we belong?

In fact we faced several problems in various levels because of the inability of local authorities to understand the whole project and to cooperate, so the continuity of the project was another challenge both for me and my partner, Gregory Frangos, and it still is. Even if this it has nothing to do with the art and its quality, being totally alone sometimes becomes problematic but saves us from ANY political touch and gives us absolute freedom.

The Santorini Biennale does not move into the world scene as an “art marketing event” and this probably decreases its “visibility” because artists need to be promoted more and more and it is more than obvious! From the other hand, this project is financed absolutely by the participating artists without spending public money and I am very proud of this independence and I believe that this is now going to be recognized and translated into fame. It needs time, but we will insist!     

 

3. What is the current status of the Santorini Biennale in the international art fair calendar ?

With reference to the above, we are not promoted as an “art marketing event” however we observed that during the 2nd & 3rd edition we were somehow “considered” even though we are an important art event yet.

We are really very grateful to the International Biennial Association that invited us to be members in 2013 of the Association and we are really very grateful to all those institutions and Media that supported us in creating our international reputation and bring us almost into the scene, like ArtWeek!  

 

4. What was the demographic of visitors in terms of age, nationality, and motivation for buying last year ?

" In Santorini, I loved having kids and students visit the exhibition without their parents! This is success for me! Being able to speak to young people and to make them understand the role that art can play in their life was an amazing experience! "

Many times my eyes were full of tears after a Biennale tour with them, especially when they would ask me again and again to speak about the artworks we selected.

As you know, Santorini is one of the most famous islands on the planet, and attracts all types of visitors. The visitors come from every part of the world and it is difficult to identify them by nationality and age.

Regarding sales, I cannot give any data, as at our bienniale we do not sell artworks! We just promote artists and they sell independently and also they can use our eShop facility to sell their artworks and from this year and on, we will give more emphasis on this.

 

5. Do you have any advice for new collectors attending the fair ?

We always invite collectors for two reasons; we need their opinion on the exhibition and we need to introduce them to our artists. Fortunately we have many, more than what we expected!

 

6. How many artists responded to your Call For Artists last year? Are they mainly local emerging artists ?  

Actually we received about 1300 submissions till now and we are very proud! The submission term ends on 13 of August 2016 so in some days we will announce the results. They come from all over the world and Greece also.   

 

7. How would you describe the contemporary art scene in Greece ?

Big question! Greece HAS to become the new "Wonderland of Arts"!

" I believe Greece is out of the main scene and this has become more visible after the Greek crisis. Unfortunately, the public entities do not finance art events and production anymore and this has an incredible impact to both artists and art organizations. "

I identify a kind of melancholy, as I observe that Greek artists are still producing art but the scene is very limited.

" Greece is a small country but very rich in culture and I believe it can become the new “Wonderland of Art” if we Greeks can understand the power the art has on our touristic product. We need to understand that the tourism sector is just a well made bag but needs to bring something important inside it. "

We have to examine carefully how to introduce the concept of art into the travel sector and how these two elements can cooperate or marry together in creating more rich experiences for the people. 

Comments

I was one of her students and he helped me in achieving my goals within my international exhibitions program. He is a philosopher, peaceful, low profile and a great curator! Happy to see him here!

A great teacher, a revolutionary mind, visionary and dreamer with deep knowledge of the artistic and cultural scene. A person that can broke rules silently!

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