Museum Alex Mylona – Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art presents Vasilis Konstantinou’s collection of artworks, historic documents, souvenirs and propaganda material from totalitarian regimes in the Balkans and other former socialist republics. The exhibition will open on Saturday November 29, at 12.30, at Museum Alex Mylona in Thisio and will run until January 11, 2015. The exhibition is curated by Thouli Misirloglou.
In collaboration with Hestia Publishers & Booksellers, the presentation of the book For Sale/Πωλείται is scheduled at the same time with the opening of the exhibition. The book will be presented by Stavros Tzimas, Journalist at Kathimerini, Denys Zacharopoulos, Artistic Director of Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Dimitris Fyssas, Writer, Journalist and Thouli Misirloglou, Curator at Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, with the presence of the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Yiannis Boutaris and special guest, Maria Papadimitriou.
Vasilis Konstantinou’s collection has been compiled through numerous trips and rigorous searches in the broader geographical area of the Balkans: it works commemoratively, but also as a reminder of a long political history of public figures and at the same time more personally, as it reveals many hidden stories of individual management of history. As a fictional product, this collection holds a strange fate, as it passes through different hands and is invested differently by each user.
Thus, Vasilis Konstantinou brings us face to face with the content of this collection in two different ways: one is the actual objects of the collection and the other is the fictional, through the plot of his new book titled For Sale (Hestia publishers & booksellers since 1885). The entire literary work of Konstantinou is concerned and is often faced with the complexity and ambiguity of time, throughout the history of totalitarian regimes in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
"A collection of socialist realism works from the postwar Balkans is bought to decorate a hotel in Israel. Under economic and bizarre circumstances, it falls in the hands of the narrator. Exploring possible solutions for its future, the collector-narrator together with his beloved historian, take a journey across the paths of the Balkans, the relations between politics, myths, feelings and art. The two of them, under the curator’s strict watch, decide to put the collection up for sale. An imaginative and charming literary tour in recent history."
According to Thouli Misirloglou: the value of the collection doesn’t lie in the artistry of the painters or the sculptors that have created the works, for the simple reason that this artistry doesn’t mainly interest the various “users” of the images, only to the extend it serves the coordinate, dogmatic presentation of the portrayed faces. Its value lies mostly in the shorts stories it entails - short stories that are hidden in the “bigger story”- in its thematic and geographical focus, in the interaction between literature and visual arts– an interaction that enriches substantially the collection- but also in the fact that the collector, his mistress and all the people involved, have so lovingly and thoughtfully invested in it.