Marina Olympios has contacted many artists (painters, sculptors, writers, musicians …) from numerous different countries asking them one question: “Are you afraid of the death of art?”

The contents of the circumspect responses reveal their creative process, founded on a new “artistic-geography”.  From the fear of the death of art to the fear of art, the thought process has turned itself around to ask about the future of art.  This position proceeds via the desalination of art works closed up in trend networks and vehicles of establishment.

The other condition, just as maintained, is the encountered between the artist of the public, in which the discourse on artwork privileges training the viewer how to perceive a work.  “Liberate the works of art” is their reply, their demonstration put into action in a series of exhibitions that beacon each stage of works created around themes which evoke contradictions and tensions in our society.

Planted in the earth of a wide open Europe, and from its fact, concerned with preserving her identity the cups and the trophies of Marina Olympios demarcate a territory of art, a geography or works.  Nothing can enter calmly, if it is not ready to share this unprecedented vision of images, of object, of actions, unveiling the slip sliding of the senses which come about under the effect of tangled juxtapositions and body scenography. 
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The relinquishment and asceticism of a gaze guides the visitor over the threshold, arranging a moment to stop in order to break down the conformism acquired in the act of appropriating and consuming possessions.  This sterilizes their subversive part, which is buried by society.  This reversal has been pushed to an extreme by this artist in the exhibition “Philosophers to Eat”, in which the destruction - consummation of a work, like the death of art, liberates the artist and the public with a game of simulation - miming, of opening out, in front of a hidden camera.

Marina Olympios leads this exploratory work through routes which plonge into her own past, her culture, her imaginary, peopled with domestic Roman elephants, stuffed reptiles all intertwined in symbols of a disarticulated society. 

Violence, money, power, collective dramas surge from the cloth they weave in the house of Europa, on which unfolds a mythic scene, little playlets attached to a familiar backround of archetypes: Life and Death, Nature and Society, Love and Solitude.  By their actions they appoint themselves as the messengers of “TO SPEAK” about art against the death of civilisation, against the death of looking at an artwork and the dictatorship of images which banalize perception.

The artistic process rejoins fully the two principle preoccupations of Art Centres: a place of experimentation and promotion made available to contemporary artists, and an actor of the regional cultural politics with the goal enraging the Art public and serving as a mediator, as a signal, as a witness.  There are difficult questions to solve due to the diversity of expectation.

How, in fact, to reach a majority non-public, to give them access to contemporary creation in a more and more “artificialized” environment impoverished and distracted by the lee-ways of the “spectacular”?  How to leave room for artistic liberty in a society obsessed by all forms of “audimat” and temptations on the commercialization of art, as if it is the only credible and respectable end, the only recognition and consecration of the artist.  One needs a lot of courage, abnegation, energy, obstination to appoint oneself artist today.

This is the resolute choice of Marina Olympios.  Shock us again and always, we could ask her, in the pleasure of the discovery, surprise and interrogations that artworks give rise to.

Roger Balboni
Professor - Art Historian
Président de “Passages” Centre d’Art Contemporain


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