Every year since 2009, the DESTE Foundation’s exhibition space at the Slaughterhouse of Hydra island hosts a series of site-specific contemporary art exhibitions designed by an artist (or team of artists). This year, the DESTE Foundation presents the exhibition Hippias Minor by artist Paul Chan. The show will open on June 14, 2015 and will be on view through September 30, 2105.
Hippias Minor is a two part exhibition. Part one consists of three outdoor works inspired by "Hippias Minor" by Plato and installed on the roof of the Hydra Slaughterhouse space. One of Plato’s most controversial dialogues, "Hippias Minor" details Socrates’s confounding arguments that there is no difference between a person who tells the truth and one who lies, and that the good man is the one who willingly makes mistakes and does wrong and unjust things. Shown for the first time, these outdoor pieces represent Chan's evolving body of work that incorporates aspects of animation, sculpture, sewing, and fluid dynamics, and which he simply calls "clothes for spirits".
Part two is the publication of Hippias Minor or The Art of Cunning (softcover, 6" X 9", 144 pgs, 13 B/W illustrations, 2015), which features a new translation of the dialogue by acclaimed translator Sarah Ruden. Rendered anew, Hippias Minor asks what if Socrates wasn’t championing the act of lying—as it has been traditionally interpreted—but, rather, advocating for a novel way of understanding the power of the creative act? With an introduction by Paul Chan and essay by classicist Richard Fletcher, the book is co-published by DESTE foundation and Paul Chan's press, Badlands Unlimited, and will premiere at the opening of Hippias Minor on Hydra.
Paul Chan is an artist who lives in New York. A survey entitled Selected Works was mounted by Schaulager in Basel, Switzerland (April 11-October 19, 2014). His work has been exhibited widely in many international shows including: Documenta 13, Kassel, 2012; Before The Law, Ludwig Museum, Cologne, 2011-12; Making Worlds, 53rd Venice Biennale, Venice, 2009; Medium Religion, ZKM, Karlsruhe, 2008; Traces du sacrê, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2008; 16th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney, 2008; 10th International Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, 2007; and the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of Art, New York, 2006. Solo exhibitions include: My Laws are My Whores, The Renaissance Society and the University of Chicago, Chicago, 2009; Paul Chan: Three Easy Pieces, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge, 2008; Paul Chan: The 7 Lights, Serpentine Gallery, London and New Museum, New 2007–2008; Paul Chan, Para/Site art space, Hong Kong, 2006. Chan is the winner of the 2014 Hugo Boss Prize.
In 2002, Chan was a part of Voices in the Wilderness, an American aid group that broke U.S. sanctions and federal law by working in Baghdad before the U.S. invasion and occupation. In 2004 he garnered police attention for The People’s Guide to the Republican National Convention, a free map distributed throughout New York to help protesters to get in or out of the way of the RNC. In 2007, Chan collaborated with the Classical Theatre of Harlem and Creative Time to produce a site-specific outdoor presentation of Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot in New Orleans. Chan’s essays and interviews have appeared in Artforum, Frieze, Flash Art, October, Tate etc, Parkett, Texte Zur Kunst, Bomb, and other magazines and journals. Chan founded Badlands Unlimited in 2010.