A different World
Duration: April 14 – July 3, 2016
Opening: Thursday, April 14, 20:00
The Museum Alex Mylona – Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art presents the exhibition Alex Mylona, A different World, curated by Denys Zacharopoulos, Artistic Director of the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art. Artworks from the permanent collection of the Museum (sculptures, drawings, paintings, collage) will be presented at the show, which opened on Thursday, April 14 and will run until July 3, 2016.
Alex Mylona wrote in 1983:
“I have put down my thoughts on life, art and my own work on various occasions. The years go by and life steadily deteriorates. Wherever one turns, there is nothing but devastation, rape, murder. Mud, dirt and corpses, dominate the landscape. Violence reigns. Man has become a defenseless creature, afraid to walk alone in the street. The use of drugs is spreading fast, taking a foothold in Greece, as well. Quick profit and self-interest rule. Athens has become a hideous city. The air is foul; at times it’s difficult to breathe. The Acropolis is submerged in a yellowish cloud of pollution. The sun can barely find its way into our houses. The blue of the sky seems to be fading. The sea, which we once believed would one day feed the whole planet with its organic wealth, is also hopelessly contaminated. The fish are slowly choking to death. Hope for a better future is rapidly dwindling.
What is left? The human race taking pride in its handiwork!
Artists, poets, philosophers, mesmerized, watch the spreading destruction around them. They try to cry out – in vain. Their voices die in their throats. In a world of callous indifference, greed and violence, what can possibly be the role of the artist, the scholar, the intellectual? I suppose that as long as there are human beings on this earth, there must be some hope left. So, like Penelope, all we can do is go on weaving the cloth of life in the daytime, even if it is only to be undone again at night. What sort of monuments can we built when the very ground shifts under our feet? What is there left to praise, to honor, to glorify - where are we to find a foothold? We can only wait; perhaps one day some kind of light will emerge. Until then, let us each resist the forces of dissolution as best we can. We may still be able to create another world out of the ruins, if not a better world, at least a different one.”
(From the retrospective exhibition catalog at the National Gallery, 1986).
Alex Mylona was born in Athens in 1920. Her parents, Maria and Thrasivoulos perceived at an early stage her talent in design and at the age of 8 she started her first lessons in drawing. In 1940, Mylona married the young layer and thereafter politician George Mylonas. In 1945, though she already had two daughters Mylona attended the Athens School of Fine Arts, where she studied sculpture at the Michalis Tombros lab. Mylona participated in numerous exhibitions, including the 1952 Pan-Hellenic Exhibition at the Zappeion and Gallery Knossos in 1953. Meantime her third child, Alexandros, was born. All her three children followed her to the art, being acclaimed artists: Maria in painting, Eleni in mixed media and Alexandros in theater. Alex Mylona cooperated with Gallery Zygos, Nees Morfes, Polyplano, Gallery Athinon, in Greece and abroad. In sixties represented Greece to the 30rd Biennale in Venice, where the critic Herbert Read was enthusiastic supporter of her works. In 1962, participated at the Salon de la Jeune Sculpture in Paris, at the International Fair in Montreal in 1967 and at various Biennale exhibitions in Brussels, Alexandria, Buenos Aires and Budapest. During this period she maintained an atelier in Paris near Montparnasse and met many sculptors including Arp, Giacometti, Zadkine, as well as the painters Atlan and Schneider. In 1986 the Greek National Gallery organized a great retrospective exhibition. In 1988 presented her work at Gallerie Denise Rene in Paris. In 2002 she started to generate her last creation, the Museum Alex Mylona. Alex Mylona died in Athens in May 2016.
According to Denys Zacharopoulos, curator of the exhibition and artistic director of the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art,
“Alex Mylona has been concerned and worried about her time and age since the beginning of her artistic journey. She has also experimented with a great variety of expressions of the artistic moment. She actively took part in the turns of history as a woman, as an artist, as an intellectual and as a citizen. She has worked with almost the entire range of materials and tried most techniques. She was as open to the younger artists as she was to her more established peers. At the same time, she was open to the changes of artistic trends and to the social cultures while participating in the constant movement of time. Her life took place in the public space in the heart of the city, as well as in the ascetic distance of the countryside and of nature. She cared as much for her Greek identity, as for the international language of art, therefore combining locality with universality in her life and oeuvre.
She has always been a feisty and dynamic woman, among the most emancipated of her generation. At the same time, she is a particularly tender and generous artist dedicating her interest and curiosity to the young ones. The relation of sculpture with the public space in her work has been historically documented, even if many of her public projects were never realized. Together with the group of artists that were presented at the Greek Pavilion in the Venice Biennale in 1960, she expressed the most progressive and modernist tendencies, the most radical artistic and personal expressions of that generation in Europe. The Museum Alex Mylona was conceived as a way for her work to go out of the studio and reach the public dimension of the sculptural world - not due to the usual artistic vanity, but due to the real need for the permanent dialogue with time that the artist expressed from the beginning. For this specific reason she took herself a great care obsessively in order to create a real museum architecturally, museologically, functionally, aesthetically, economically in every detail. With an equal generosity to the one that brought the public in contact with her work at the museum, Alex Mylona realized that she could not be a museum director. In order to be free again and continue her work as an artist, she decided to donate the museum to the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art. As she said herself, “the museum has not to be a mausoleum but a living organism”. Since the museum’s opening as a public space she decided thanks to her lively temperament to dedicate the largest space of the museum to the exhibition of works by younger artists and thus, supported new artistic trends and projects. Today, Alex Mylona, having completed her ninety-sixth year of age, proves by her work and general stance in life that she continues to be a young artist, herself. After the temporary suspension of the functioning of the museum due to the general crisis, but also due to the more specific crisis that culture suffers in our country, together, we decided to open the museum again to honor the young and dynamic artist, Alex Mylona. The exhibition under the title “Alex Mylona, A Different World” inaugurates the discussion on her work with the younger generations and allows beyond any sense of retrospect the richness, complexity and versatility, “polytropon” as Homer says, is not of the man but of the woman, not of the muse but of the artist.
The Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art together with Alex Mylona’s children and friends, invite younger artists, many of whom have already been exhibited in the museum, to a gathering that will open the museum in a festive manner.”
Since 2007, the Museum Alex Mylona has participated in numerous Festivals and cooperated with Museums, Collections and cultural organizations such as: Athens Festival, Athens Biennale, Thessaloniki Biennale, International Film Festival of Thessaloniki, Athens School of Fine Arts, State Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens Photo Festival, Institut Français de Grèce, Instituto Italiano di Cultura, ITYS Institute for Contemporary Art and Thought, Hydra School Projects, Farnesina Collection, Malvina Menegaz Foundation for the Arts and Culture, Association for Contemporary Art ZERYNTHIA, Landeshauptstadt Munchen Kulturreferat, ART for The World, I.M.A.R.E.T. Intitute Mohamed Ali.
Two videos are shown at the exhibition:
- A record of the construction of the building and the setting of the exhibition at the museum (Video, documentation: Eleni Mylonas, Claudette Labrosse, Curating, Montage: Stefanos Bertakis, © Eleni Mylonas & Museum Alex Mylona, 2016)
- Alex Mylona talks about her work and guides us at the museum (Director: Christina Katsari, Curating: Eleni Mylonas, Camera, sound: Stefanos Bertakis, Montage: Christina Katsari, © Alex Mylona, 2006)
Museum Alex Mylona – Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art
5 Agion Assomaton Sq., Thissio
T: +30 210 3215717
F: +30 210 3215712
Ticket: 3€, 2€ reduce
Thursday: 16.00 – 21.00
Friday - Saturday: 11.00 – 19.00