Metro Deste Foundation, Athens

"Metro," a group show of nine emerging Greek artists, does not try to define a set of national interest groups. It is aiming to create a space of an in-between topography in which personal ideas and responses connect across all barriers. With the range of media extending from video installation to painting, and the broader scope of social issues that their work deals with, the same artists could have been working anywhere in the world. Inspired from daily life incidents, Maurice Gannis's paintings read as personal tales of alienation and survival.

Painted in a child-like simplicity his images might look naive at first, but at a closer inspection they succeed to transcend a gruesome reality that surrounds his toy-like characters. The same feeling of displacement and the ongoing search for domesticity pervades other works in the show such as the photographs of Alexandros Georgiou, Panos Kokkinias, and Dimitris Tsoublekas.

Georgiou shoots pictures of nude male figures that are separated from their natural background and re-photographed among objects around his desk. The difference in the scale of the juxtaposed prints makes the human seem tiny and foreign to their gigantic surroundings. Tsoublekas's photographs of his familiar domestic or outer spaces address the notion that even a perfect home cannot completely block out the disorder of the exterior world, while Kokkinias's photographic scenes of his home environment seem hostile, and although empty in content they reveal a sense that something critical-is about to occur.

Other works in the show are less directly occupied with one's self such as the installations of Despina Issaia and Deanna Magannias and the video by Panayota Tzamourani, which focuses on personal interaction and the disorientational qualities of transitional spaces, or the works of Lina Theodorou and Kostas loannidis that deal with the merging thread of terror and destruction. loannidis for that matter is focusing on the "uneasy" situation of the Balkans, North Africa, and Middle East by creating an oven which produces baklava — a sweet served in all these territories — accompanied by a recording of a young child's voice which is alternated with the roaring of a wild beast.

As the curator Dan Cameron puts it in the catalogue accompanying the exhibition, the first sensation one might experience on entering "Metro" is a feeling of dislocation. It might be said that the show as a whole lacks a certain direct, and distinctive energy that could render it memorable; however, it succeeds to foster a situation which will initiate new points of reference between different approaches and experiences and to set up an environment in which artists and audience might paradoxically feel at "home" in the crazy-world we live in.

(Marina Fokidis)

76 Flash Art NOVEMBER DECEMBER 1999