Alpha to and Omega of Our Athens Nostalgia: O is for Otobiography

How much time did you spend in Athens with your face up against a window, peering into a closed building, trying to get a glimpse of a work of art or at least the space in which it was made? Did this happen to you at Archimidous 15 and Nikhil Chopra’s Drawing a Line through Landscape, 2017? Or at Fylasion 42, where you wanted to see where Aboubakar Fofana set up his indigo vats? Even though you were there, in the right place, did the fact that you were not able to go it make you feel like Odysseus in Eumaeus’ hut on outskirts of Ithaca? How many times did the same thing happen, but with your ears, straining to listen, behind a fence? Did you do this for Postcommodity at Aristotle’s Lyceum? Or for Benjamin Patterson’s frog-chorus at the Byzantine and Christian Museum gardens? Like Odysseus dressed as the Cretan in the halls of his own palace, did you feel so close yet still just out of reach? While in Athens, immersed in the art of others, did you find time and space for your own work? Or, as if behind glass or fence, you found yourself both going to the studio yet also unable to go to the studio? Or did you, at the moment this photograph was taken, find behind the glass material for your own art, which you could bring back to the studio and make? As you left the store, with your zippers, your thread and your sewing kit, did you sense Derrida’s ‘ear of the other’, that otobiography of the drumming of sewing machines of Wang Bing’s 15 Hours or the blue thread in the black and white photographs of Maria Lai‘s Legarsi alla montagna (To tie oneself to the mountain), 1981? Or instead, more like Odysseus, finally in his bedroom, confronted by Penelope and his final test, did you recognize your own handiwork, heading home safe to the studio of your own practice? We are there now and we are done.

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