The Thessaloniki Photobiennale 2018, now in its 23rd edition which marks the 30th anniversary of its founding, presents to the public 21 exhibitions of Greek and international photography, of varying themes and photographic approaches, with the participation of 142 artists from many countries of the world.
At this year’s event, the central exhibition entitled Capitalist Realism is curated by Penelope Petsini and assistant curator Fotis Milionis. Structured in two large sections hosted at the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography and the Contemporary Art Center of Thessaloniki, the exhibition attempts to highlight issues that contribute to the emergence or exacerbation of economic crises in the international environment, on a contemporary and historical horizon.
This year’s event, which marks the 30th anniversary of its founding, adopts some new ideas and practices for the festival:
– The organisation and presentation of the exhibitions of two emerging Greek photographers, through an open call competition juried by a three-member committee which included Yiorgos Depollas (photographer), Stratos Kalafatis (photographer) and Theodore Markoglou (curator of the ThMP).
– The presentation of two exhibitions with works from the ThMP permanent collection.
– The hosting of an international exhibition on photobooks.
– The collaboration with other festivals and photographic events of the country (Athens Photo Festival, Photometria, MedPhoto, Kythera Photographic Encounters).
– The organisation of an anniversary exhibition with works from the collection of the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, donated by artists who had previously participated in the festival.
– The hosting of an exhibition highlighting the close relationship between photography and social media.
– A partnership with the University of Macedonia Publications for the book accompanying the central exhibition.
At the same time, this year’s festival, supported by the Public Investment Programme of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, includes parallel events for the photographic and general public, such as educational programmes and guided tours, workshops and lectures, a tribute to the relationship between photography and cinema (in collaboration with the Thessaloniki International Film Festival), as well as an international two-day conference with invited artists and academics aimed to explore the framework of the central exhibition (in collaboration with the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation).
The exhibition Photographs, Truths and Lies 1985-2018 by Costis Antoniadis is the first one to be presented within the framework of Thessaloniki PhotoBiennale 2018, on Friday, September 14, 2018 at 20:30, at National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation (Villa Kapantzi). The exhibition develops in eight thematic series that were produced in various periods from 1985 to 2018. Fragments of images from the city, iconic representations of heroes’ busts, secret collections, and hypothetical documents investigate the relation of photography to memory, reality and the imaginary. Costis Antoniadis systematically invites eclectic elements and forms in new juxtapositions in order to give prominence to photography’s capacity to manoeuvre among uses and meanings.
Worn images of faces and bodies compose the thread of his narratives. In the 1980s, they initially appear in advertising billboards and the walls of ruined Athenian, while a few years later they emerge through 19th century glass negatives and worn manuscripts. In 2013, by renewing the photographic materials and their method of processing, he attempts new approaches; faces imprinted in hovering transparencies are associated with heroes and heroines of classical tragedies, theater and the opera, while in another series parts of male and female bodies compose new figures.
The most recent project that appears in the exhibition, “Mutations” (2017-18), forms an extension of the questions already posed by Antoniadis in the past on the relation between reality and its representation. Adopting the form of photographic essay, he traces the mutation effected on the representation of refugee routes in the mass media upon its incorporation into museum spaces. The project invites us to question what finally remains in such photographs from the real story they represent.
A distinct place in his work is given to photographs from his family album, which he recomposes into a continuously evolving installation. He adopts uncanny poses, digitally invades family snapshots or invites ghosts to appear in them, in a mode that refers directly to the 19th century spirit photography.
Each thematic series is mainly a brief study on material decay and memory, on truth and lies. With the warning (or confession) that “any resemblance to reality or other images is unavoidable”, Antoniadis tests these concepts on the very core of photography.
Costis Antoniadis studied Physics at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and works as a professional photographer since 1974. He is a co-founder of the Photography Centre of Athens and the curator of several photography exhibitions in Greek and International Festivals since 1979. He was appointed director of the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography from 2003 to 2005. From 2006 he works as a freelance curator. His photographs have been exhibited in solo and group shows. He is writer of numerous texts and studies, and editor of photographic publications. He is Emeritus Professor of Photography at the University of West Attica.