George Hadjimichalis: Seven Works
May 19—September 1, 2002
P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center presents the first U.S. exhibition of the work of Greek artist George Hadjimichalis (b. 1954, Athens, Greece). Curated by P.S.1 Director Alanna Heiss with P.S.1 Associate Curator Daniel Marzona, George Hadjimichalis: Seven Works features artwork by one of the foremost contemporary Greek artists, whose conceptual paintings and mixed-media installations investigate memory, the archive, and the relationship between the intangible past and modern visual culture. The artist questions the limits of painting with three-dimensional works that explore the functional purpose of the image and how it shapes the experience of life in the postmodern condition.
Informed by the aesthetics and motifs of Minimalism, Hadjimichalis' art also demonstrates a response to history, ritual, and archaeology that is particularly rooted in his Greek heritage. Schiste Odos (1990–95) presents a landscape comprised of photographs, drawings, and a treated table that show the topography of an ancient Greek cart road, which is also the legendary crossroads where Oedipus killed his father. A landscape for the information age, Schiste Odos alludes to mythology, technology, and the history of Western culture, erasing the distinctions between past and present. Issues of colonialism and racism encroach upon the formal qualities of The Battle of Dien Bien Phu (1998–2000), a set of maps on which the artist has charted the attacks on supply lines in the battle for the remote village in North Vietnam that served as the final battle stage in the French War in Vietnam. Mining both the visible and invisible parts of history and geography, Hadjimichalis' work intends to provide access to deeper understanding of our everyday surroundings.
In his ongoing investigation of the archive, Workshop of Projects and Images in Crisis (1996–present), Hadjimichalis uses commercially available objects, found and created images, and texts to generate open-ended narratives that deal with the technologies of classification and recording. Ninety-Seven Filed Heads presents a series of black-and-white photographs of small molded heads; their deformed faces recall ethnologic models of racial types and refer to theoretical links between an individual's appearance and internal nature. In Small Archive of Images (1986/1996-1999), viewers confront a wooden chest of drawers that may be opened to reveal small paintings, photographs, and collages. Classified and archived in separate compartments, individual images make up a personal iconography to be read as a hypertext, whose total meaning is constantly in flux.
Hadjimichalis (b. Athens, Greece, 1954) currently lives and works in Athens. Recent solo exhibitions include George Hadjimichalis: Works 1985–2000, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens; From the Archives of the Workshop of Projects and Images in Crisis, Zoumboulakis Gallery; Interpretation of Points Opposite/2, Epikentro Gallery, Patra; and Synaxis Maroneias, Ephoreia of Byzantine Antiquities, Kavala, Greece. His work has been featured in group exhibitions including conversation ? / recent acquisitions of the Van Abbemuseum, Athens; Tsarouchis, Antonakos, Hadjimichalis, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt; 3rd Biennial of Centinje, Montenegro; Syhaxis, Centre d'Art Contemporain, Kerguhennec, Britanny, France; Documenta IX, Kassel; and the Architecture Biennial, Venice (1991).
George Hadjimichalis: Seven Works is made possible by The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Unisystems S.A., Financial Technologies S.A., The Hellenic Ministry of Culture / Ephoreia of Byzantine Antiquities, Thessaloniki (Center of Contemporary Archaeology).