A Scattering of Salts
curated by Panos Giannikopoulos
Participating artists: Yannis Bouteas, James Bridle, Eleni Christodoulou, , Nicole Economides, Evangelia Fouseki, Ioanna Gouma, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Gkikas, Rowena Hughes, Theo Hios, Astrid Kokka, Bety Krňanská, Jack McConville, Irini Miga, Michael Michaelides, Raffaela Naldi Rossano, Kosmas Nikolaou, Aemilia Papaphilippou, Pavlos Nikolakopoulos, Malvina Panagiotidi, Rallou Panagiotou, Cezary Poniatowski, Chrysanne Stathacos, Takis, Lina Zedig
Performances by: Konstantina Barkouli, Ermira Goro
May 26 - June 28, 2023
at Deree – The American College of Greece
Frances Rich School of Fine and Performing Arts
6 Gravias Street
GR-153 42 Aghia Paraskevi Athens
The exhibition "A Scattering of Salts”, opening on May 26, 2023, presents works of painting, sculpture, video, performance, and dance at Deree – The American College of Greece. It brings the art collection of The American College of Greece into dialogue with contemporary artists from Greece and abroad.
The narrative thread traversing the exhibition stems from a photograph which is part of the art collection. The acclaimed American Poet James Merrill looks at the life mask of fellow poet Kimon Friar. Multiple references emerge from the petrified gaze. Projections of desire, the form of the Medusa, citations and comparisons, sedimentation, the nexus of life and death.
Merrill's last poetry collection1 of the same name lends the exhibition its title, imposing its underlying leitmotifs. The scattering of salts is a poetic invocation, binding and situating at the same time, a magic circle, a spell. The scattering of salts serves as a metaphor for the scattering of memories and the accumulation of time. Merrill’s séance is proposed in “A Scattering of Salts” as an exhibition-making tool. The occult, spiritual communications the poet anecdotally held are playfully converted into a way of engaging with art history and reconstructing historical works. These uncanny conversations become a source of both poetic and spatial inspiration. The invocation of magic helps us become aware of our preexisting metaphysical assumptions. As the range of the possible keeps shrinking, contemporary rituals try to move beyond prescribed rules and reach out to what cannot be captured in descriptive language. They reveal the relationship between artistic practice and the transcendental through the counter reflection of the "technical"2. Historical works surface alongside contemporary artists and erratic dance performances and occupy unexpected spaces, while lost works are re-animated or developed further, creating scattered connections.
Privileging scattering over organization, dispersion rather than systematic arrangement, the exhibition presents fragments of imagination dissolving into something else. Salts become a lens through which to contemplate the present and scattering emerges as a methodology, thus creating the illusion of symmetrical, kaleidoscopic patterns.
Minerals and parts of our tissues facilitate the transmission of nerve impulses across the human body, crystallizing into precious materials, a process of becoming and unbecoming—prisms in a contingent flux which enable us to contemplate the past and the future.
Salts crystallize and dissolve; layers of calcium carbonate accrete to form a pearl, which
in time is dropped back into the sea; molecules under heat and pressure are rearranged to form gemstones, and the same forces decrystallize marble to chalk3.
1 Merrill, James. A Scattering of Salts. Alfred A. Knopf, 1995.
2 Campagna, Federico. Technic and Magic: The Reconstruction of Reality. Bloomsbury Academic, 2019.
3 “A Scattering of Salts: Kaleidoscopic Innocence.” James Merrill: Knowing Innocence, Routledge, New York, 2007, p. 158.
Architectural design: Anastasis Papadakis
Exhibition and ACG Art Collection Senior Manager: Ioanna Papapavlou
Curatorial assistants: Clio Georgiadis, Maria Kollia, Athina Lasithiotaki, Katerina Milesi,
Elena Pitsilka (Deree Art History Program students)
Graphic design: Athina Lasithiotaki, Katerina Milesi Graphic Design Supervision: Marios Stamatis
Organized by the Frances Rich School of Fine and Performing Arts at Deree – The American College of Greece as part of the Arts Festival 2023.
In collaboration and supported by the Art History, Graphic Design and Visual Arts programs and ACG Art Collection.
Special thanks to the Dance Area for their contribution and collaboration.
About The American College of Greece
The American College of Greece (ACG) is a private, independent, non-profit educational organization founded in 1875 and the oldest and largest American-accredited educational institution in Europe. Today, ACG comprises three educational units: Pierce (secondary education), Deree (undergraduate and graduate programs) and Alba Graduate Business School. Faithful to its mission of providing equal access to high quality education, ACG supports its students through a €8 million financial aid program. Deree, its undergraduate and graduate division, offers 38 innovative programs of study, accredited by NECHE (New England Commission of Higher Education) and validated by the OU, 6 cooperative programs with Clarkson University, 58 minors, and 9 graduate programs in Communication, Psychology, Education and Data Science.