THE ART OF COLLECTING
The process of collecting -stained to the human DNA, presumably because at a certain point in history of mankind, it ensured survival- is an activity focused on objects, their classification, storing-conservation and, at times, exhibition.
A collector, indulging into artistic work, turns to it actively and not only on a theoretical or critical level. He or she collects art according to idiosyncrasy, his/her own will.
Taking under consideration certain approaches to "collecting" by Susan M. Pearce, Walter Benjamin or Jean Baudrillard, whatever one collects constitutes, in fact, an extension of his/her own self. A collection is the conjunction of soul, spirit and material essence. According to Susan M. Pearce, "the process of collecting is a way of living through chaos and transforming it, temporarily, into meaning". The ultimate goal is communicating with the outside world, a certain "reflection" upon object and their semiology. Besides, ones thoughts, character or taste, identify with what one chooses to embosom oneself with. Therefore, if objects form yet another code of communication, in the same manner as language does, it is evident that the collector creates logos through collecting. Furthermore, the object of collection being art, constitutes logos which is multiple and utterly meaningful.
FROM THE COLLECTION...
A collection of artworks is creation and result of the collector's esthetics and outlook on artistic production. Focusing on Efi Andreadou-Piplikatsi's collection, it is evident, that the complete ensemble of works is characterized by a clear and firm collecting intention. The collector embarks upon a complete, methodic collecting procedure, connecting works on the basis of chronology, style, or theoretical approach, based on a detailed and well-documented interpretation of contemporary art. Additionally, she highlights her collection, through a continuous open exhibition to the public.
In detail, the content of her collection structures itself on two axes, dedicated to currents and movements of post-war art. On the first axis, lies conceptual art and on the other, those works that represent principles of "the expression of geometry", as the collector notes. In both cases, works of diverse expressive media and techniques are involved. Paintings, installations, sculptures, constructions and videos etc consummate the collection.
Efi Andreadou-Piplikatsi is involved with the process of collecting through personal and emotional motivation. Each item of her collection has its own story, its own context, in regard to the process of creation, the experience and the paraphernalia of its acquisition. Such elements, are solely responsible for identifying a personal art-collection, exalting it to a "diary" of dialogue, memory, experience and knowledge.
...TO THE EXHIBITION
In the exhibition of every collection, one of the most interesting points is, on one hand, the manner in which the collector selects the works and on the other hand, the way in which he combines, introduces them, under personal supervision, in a site-specific context. Through this process the sum of works is being redefined, in a way that the collector has beforehand chosen.
Using an underground space, (the basement of a factory in Thessaloniki), Efi Andreadou-Piplikatsi invites us to swim in her own water, entering the underground visual universe, shaped specifically for sharing this personal microcosmos with other people. The acquisition of works has taken place over the last decade and it sustains with dedication to specific criteria.
The first part of her collection, on exhibition at present, is comprised with works of Greek and foreign artists, focused mainly on conceptual art. Each artist is born in the period running from 1909 to 1979 (70 years which symbolically could represent ones life-span). Their work belongs to the first, second and third post-war generation, highlighting a series of currents and influences on the Greek and international scene, which still remain vivid and poignant, creating, on a certain level, a collection - thesaurus of art.
As far as Greek artists are concerned, the collection deals with a number of creators whose presence and path contributed and still contribute to the formation of the "profile of post-war art in Greece". Needless to say, that most of these artists can be found on important collections, both private and of museums, as well as on relevant bibliography.
Through every collection there's something to be acquired. Nonetheless, Efi Andreadou-Piplikatsi' s exhibition offers the opportunity to the unsuspected visitor - client of the factory to confront an art collection of significant historical value and for those working there, to move among objects of art or -simply- to co-exist in the same space.
Photos are published courtesy of the collectionist
1 Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, New Edition, Longman 1990
2 Yannis Bolis, "The Story of Collecting", Seven Days magazine, Newspaper Kathimerini, 13.03.2005.
3 Bill Brown, "The collecting mania", University of Chigago Magazine, Oct. 2001, vol. 94, # 1, http://magazine.uchicago.edu/0110/features/mania-nation.html
4 Susan Pearce, Museums, Objects and Collections: a cultural study, Leicester University Press 1992.
5 The artists: Achilleas Apergis, Josef Beyus, Stathis Logothetis, Takis, Vlassis Kaniaris, Nikos Kessanlis, Robert Barry, Thodoros, Chryssa, Aris Prodromidis, Ir Kulik, George Lappas, Costis Triandaphyllou, Nikos Alexiou, Giorogs Gyparakis, Alexandros Psychoulis, Ilias Papailiakis, Theo Prodromidis.
The artists of the "expression of geometry" section are: Nafsika Pastra, Michael Michailidis, Daniil, Constantin Xenakis, Chris Giannakos, Opy Zouni, Annette Sauermann.
6 Reminding us of Eleni Vakalo's book title: The Profile of Post-war Greek Art, Kedros, Athens 1985