LIVE YOUR MYTH IN
The Eye Altering gallery is pleased to announce, “Live your Myth in”, a collaborative show by Barba Dee and Monos Cwtos. The artists, creating a series of 6 paintings “à quatre mains”, explore the national tourism legend of post-Junta Greece and its partial representation of the country’s reality.
The collaboration between the two artists started long ago when adapting an almost guerilla approach, they reclaimed abandoned industrial buildings through a series of artistic interventions. These interventions provide the disused structures – remnants of late-capitalistic disinvestment and deindustrialization – with an unforeseen public character that derives from their new function as an exhibition space rather than from their ownership. Thus, it can be said that Monos Cwtos & Barba Dee’s work is inextricably linked with the concept of publicness not only due to the transformation of degraded urban surroundings into public spaces but above all owning to the iconographic mobilization of collective memory that comprises the shared pool of recollections, knowledge, and information.
Their common perception of the use of identifying imagery of intensively cultivated illusions and unlimited gallantry of the glorious past together with utilizing insets constitutes the base of their collaboration. Adopting an utterly unorthodox dialectic artistic practice in which one creates a base painting and the other intervenes by adding insets and vice versa, the artists make a radical gesture that overturns the very myths of artistic genius and the value of the art object. So, the overlapping insets do not obscure parts of the “pure” painting or the work of the other but reveal the unsaid producing alternative narratives via the free association of the seemingly unconnected images.
Using as the title of the exhibition the slogan of the 2004 state-run publicity campaign, the artists lay emphasis on the predominantly mythogenic history of the country. They choose to work with references directly related to the hopelessly optimistic tales of the modernized and de-balkanized country of classical antiquities and whitewashed Cycladic dwellings, which dominate the popular perception of Greek society. At the same time, insets depict banal everyday objects, state-violence monuments or even moments of inflated nationalistic fervour that deconstruct the success story of Greek elites concerning the alleged booming economy of a nation that faces the steady deterioration of living conditions. Finally, these paintings simply rekindle our collective memory by subverting popular imagery to represent the gloomy conditions of a society in constant crisis and the general spirit of fear, alienation, uncertainty and precariousness well-disguised from the tourist gazes.