A first taste of the Greek presence at the Venice Biennale was given today by the artists who will represent our country from April 20 at the 60th International Art Exhibition.

The first presentation of the official Greek participation took place in the context of the 26th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival.

This is the project entitled “Dryland”, which brings audiovisual materials and other objects from the world of the festival and which in Venice will take the form of a spatial installation. A central part of the unified hybrid composition will be a semi-automatic irrigation machine that will be in operation and which will be framed by music, video, sound environments, lighting fixtures and the water element.

“The work comes through a collective production process and brings through the prism of the festival, of this celebration, agricultural work, life in the countryside, as well as labor issues that are particularly relevant at this time.

They are recorded with great tenderness and start from the personal experience of the artists at work in the reference areas and this situated knowledge is very important for how the work itself is produced”, explained the curator of the pavilion Panos Giannikopoulos.

The pavilion of approximately 250 square meters, which has hosted the Greek entries every two years for decades, is architecturally reminiscent of a Byzantine temple. The artists therefore utilized this aesthetic, incorporating it into their work. “In our research we saw that many things are done around a church or on the occasion of a religious celebration, so we tackled the pavilion as part of the project.

This connection of the field, the agricultural warehouse, the church and the square, all come together and we create something like a dream”, said Thanasis Deligiannis, who together with Yiannis Michalopoulos conceived the idea of ​​the installation.

“What interests us is how all these objects – which are mainly outdoor, are composed in an interior space like that of the Greek pavilion and how they acquire an excellent emotional immediacy, thanks to the composition,” added Mr. Michalopoulos.

Xiromero, which lends its title to the work, is actually a municipality of Aitoloakarnania, where the group’s artists “settled”, recording moments from the region and especially its mountainous mass, while they also moved in the fertile plain of Thessaly, in order to emphasize the contrast of the two regions.

“The project has started with a research process as well as work tests for at least three years by Thanasis Deligiannis and Yiannis Michalopoulos, who activated it as an idea and then formed the team”, emphasized Mr. Giannikopoulos, referring to his co-creators of the project who were present at the event, Elia Kalogiannis, Giorgos Kyvernitis, Costas Haikalis and Fotis Sagonas. “When we formed the group we went on many trips, we recorded sounds, we recorded testimonies, we recorded images with documentary methods, with oral history methods, with a lot of observation and a lot of emotion”, added Yiannis Michalopoulos.

The above tactics somehow connect the project with the Documentary Festival, where the first official presentation of the Greek participation took place. “The Thessaloniki Film Festival has a tradition of collaboration with almost all the cultural organizations of Greece, such as the KTHBE, the Greek Theater of Athens, the MOMus, but also the National Museum of Contemporary Art, which is the national commissioner for this year’s specific mission.

We are happy that the Festival will once again support the national participation in a framework of collaborations and osmosis of all the arts”, stated the artistic director of the Festival Orestis Andreadakis as… host of the event. He also noticed that in recent years the Greek pavilion of the Biennale, as well as contemporary art in general, “has a love for the moving image”, as he characteristically said.