#The21project, Dio Horia’s second art intervention at the Twenty One Restaurant, features
three international artists who have been invited to present equal number of artworks as the
restaurant and hotel’s name.
By adopting and using elements of the visual identity of the hotel and the restaurant,
#the21project touches on the issue of cultural appropriation in the 21st century. Cultural
appropriation is the adoption or use of the elements of one culture by members of another
culture. It may be perceived as controversial or harmful, notably when the cultural property
of a minority group is used by members of the dominant culture without the consent of the
members of the originating culture. The #21projects aims to address under what circumstances
cultural appropriation is not only inevitable, but also, potentially positive? The participating artists are: Juergen Teller, Aurel Schmidt and Stelios Karamanolis.
At the same time, the exhibition presents works by: Greg Bogin, Maja Djordjevic, Taylor
McKimens, Rallou Panagiotou, Alex Ruthner and Alexandros Tzannis. The presentation of
these additional artworks, aims to present modern trends of Greek and international artistic
production to a wider audience that is not limited to museum goers.
The #21project was inaugurated in October 2016. At that time, Maria Efstathiou, Todd James
and Honza Zamojski installed 21 drawings each under the same curatorial and Greg Bogin, Nir
Hod, Matthew Palladino and Olga Migliaressi-Phoca participated in the exhibition.
In November 2016, photographer Juergen Teller (Germany, 1964) curated an exhibition of
Robert Mapplethorpe’s work to coincide with what would have been the 70th birthday of the
iconic photographer. One of Teller’s favorite exhibits was a silver gelatin print, “Frogs” (1984),
by Mapplethorpe, depicting a plate leaping with leopard-skinned amphibian. In recent months,
Teller has built a body of work with frogs in dishes, under the title «Frogs on Plates», part of
which is presented in the #21project. Teller is known for his raw style which he presents his
subject matters and for his interest in depicting the complexity of the human experience.
Aurel Schmidt’s (Canada, 1982) drawings question conventions of beauty and masculinity as
well as standard associations with decomposition, rot, and refuse. Schmidt relates her interest
in finding the beauty in ugliness to the idea of the human condition as a cyclical process of
renewal and decay.
The work of Stelios Karamanolis (Greece, 1977) aims primarily to display personal narratives
which, are shaped through combinations of symbol-like elements. Archetypal creatures,
animals, plants and architectural elements, are used as symbols, for the creation of a coded
language with which, the artist communicates new mythologies that are filled with mystical
Greg Bogin’s work (USA, 1965) is intentionally optimistic to counterbalance darker moods
that may be triggered by the western world’s relentless pace. There are always elements of
hopefulness in his work, like in the gradient painting presented at the #21project which, is
inspired by sunsets.
Maja Djordjevic (Serbia, 1990) belongs to the first generation of children doodling in their
computers. Djordjevic successfully transfers the plasticity found in colors that are painted
digitally (as well as the range of emotions that these colors convey), into traditional drawings
that have nothing less in their technique and their mastery, to those created by classical
artists. For the #21project Djordjevic presents a new series of works titled ‘I do not even know
what I’m upset about’ that comments on thecontemporary obsession with emojis, through
the depiction of Mickey Mouse in different emotional phases.
Taylor McKimens (USA, 1976) work ponders around the idea of stoicism and how to live
under modern stoic premises. Technically, his work is an exploration of the binary of drawing
techniques vs. traditional painting and the dichotomy between figuration and abstraction.
Rallou Panagiotou (Greece, 1978) creates work where fragments of architectural landscapes,
of certain anatomised commodities and formal traces of activity connected to leisure and
reverie, are transformed into condensed mediated topologies. Her work ensues as resolution
of the personal, the work of memory, the eccentric conditions of the peripheral - in the form of
specific materiality, architectural conditions, consumer products, the mutated misinterpreted
emulations of western style with the unifying notion of junk space, of what is left when
modernisation has run its course.
In Alex Ruthner’s (Austria, 1982) paintings image, texture, and pattern, as well as representation
and abstraction, have all equal space. His work is a combination of pragmatic and minimalist
painting, along with modern surreal elements of the western world. The concept of nature
(and references to it) as the opposite of urban culture, symbolises the blurring of boundaries
between reality and illusion.
Alexandros Tzannis’ (Greece, 1979) labour intensive works depict a dark futuristic world
which emerges through a delicate synthesis composed of geometric shapes. Tzannis’ work is
inspired by different architectural forms found in his native city, Athens.