“A Scattering of Salts”
Curated by Panos Giannikopoulos

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 collection[1] 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 chalk[3].

Participating artists: Yannis Bouteas, James Bridle, Eleni Christodoulou, Jimmie Durham, Nicole Economides, Kimon Friar, Evangelia Fouseki, Ioanna Gouma, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Gkikas, Rowena Hughes, Theo Hios, Astrid Kokka, Bety Krňanská, Jack Mcconville, Michael Michaelides, Irini Miga, Raffaela Naldi Rossano, Kosmas Nikolaou, Pavlos Nikolakopoulos, Aemilia Papaphilippou, Malvina Panagiotidi, Rallou Panagiotou, Cezary Poniatowski, Chrysanne Stathacos, Takis, Lina Zedig