In 2010, in the midst of Greece’s economic crisis, Marina Fokidis founded Kunsthalle Athena in order to reflect on the social role of art institutions in the 21st century, also locally in Athens. Within a discourse that perceives Europe primarily as a coalition which is based on the system of economy, the meaning of Greece has changed from it being connected to the cradle of Western civilization towards a trouble spot in Europe. Fokidis pursues an approach of critical thinking towards institutions and ideologies highlighting the thesis, that a false cultural appropriation of ancient Greece derived from western thinking. Central guidelines of her curatorial work consist of themes such as colonialism, economy, compensation and reparation. Her understanding of colonial appropriation, however, is not primarily related to the conquest of territories, but refers above all to a form of the West’s mindset towards “the South.” With ironic reference to various ideas and clichés of the West towards the South, Fokidis develops an alternative self-concept of the Mediterranean countries of Europe. From these reflections a productive approach emerged, which considers “the South as a State of Mind” and implies new global associations between cultural players.
In her online talk at HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark, Marina Fokidis talks about her curatorial approach, contemporary art in Athens and presents some of her projects such as her collaboration at documenta 14. The lecture takes place in the frame of the gallery days aktuelle kunst in graz.
Marina Fokidis lives and works as a curator and writer in Athens. She is the founder of Kunsthalle Athena and the art and culture magazine South as a State of Mind. In 2014 she became the director of the Athens Artistic Office and curatorial advisor to documenta 14. Fokidis was a co-curator of 3rd Thessaloniki Biennial of Contemporary Art (2011), the commissioner and curator of the Greek Pavilion at the 51st Biennale di Venezia (2003) and one of the curators of T.I.C.A.B. – Tirana International Contemporary Art Biannual 1 (2001). She was associate curator of the Schwarz Foundation’s Pythagorion Art Space, for which she oversaw solo exhibitions of newly commissioned works by Slavs and Tatars (2013) and Nevin Aladağ (2014). From 2001 to 2008, she served as co-director of Oxymoron, an Athens-based non-profit organization promoting contemporary visual art in Greece internationally.