Paratoxic Paradoxes at the Benaki Museum Athens
Participating artists: Loukia Alavanou, Sophia Al Maria, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Vasilis P. Karouk, Anja Kirschner, Eva Kotatkova, Saskia Olde Wolbers, Eva Papamargariti, Agnieszka Polska, Mika Rottenberg, Wu Tsang.
Curated by Nadja Argyropoulou
The first part of the PCAI Collection, a capsule under the curatorial work of Nadja Argyropoulou, is presented at the Paratoxic Paradoxes exhibition that is organised by PCAI with the cooperation of the Benaki Museum in Athens.
The exhibition presents new commissions of moving image (film, video, animation, digital imaging, etc.), works from the PCAI Collection that explore this critical question through the contemporary viewpoint of political ecology and eco-criticism, as the latter is currently shaped at the point of intersection among arts, politics, socioeconomic demands, pedagogy and activism, beyond naive classifications, univocal readings and outdated strategies.
The project should be viewed, to a certain extent, as part of the global response and mobilization of artists, theorists, curators, scientists, activists, creative practitioners and social media initiatives in the face of climate-change tipping points and their connection to every aspect of contemporary life.
The exhibition explores the parallel readings of the redundant and the rejected, of that which is manageable yet elusive, of the amorphous and the anarchic, the abundant and the dwindling, the repulsive and the repressed, the excessive and the grotesque, the viral and the virulent, the processed and the possessed.
Selected so as to make up an open set of significantly different approaches and practices over and beyond a common environmental agenda, the artists faced the unusual challenge of a minimal curatorial precept (2 words: toxic, waste) and maximum liberty in their chosen geographical, ideological or material approach.
This approach could take the form of analysis, dissolution, exploration, reversal, transmutation, rejection or study in the light of conflicting discourses, appendage to existing approaches and international financial data, or conjunction with indigenous cosmologies, capitalist nightmares, scientific findings, artistic sub-genres and ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ theories of interaction between the human and the non-human. It could be extended into thinking-through-the-senses, the dispute of forms and contemporary policies of identification and representation, the anatomy of the ways of neo-colonial fiction and violence,over-urbanisation, consumerism, racism and inequality. It could devise ways of distorting,influencing, mixing and combining so as to demonstrate the paradox of the very notion of(de)contamination beyond the obvious.