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Artist portraits (64): Maria Papadimitriou
Frankfurter Rundschau | 10.08.2002
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++++ Art doesn't have a chance against football. Maria Papadimitriou, who was born in 1957, has personal experience of that. Her contribution to Manifesta which she had installed on the info-screen at the Central Railway Station had to move to Frankensteiner Hof because of the telecasts of the world championship competition.
The current project of the Greek artist has the title T.A.M.A. (Temporary Museum for All) and is represented by the installation for Manifesta. For T.A.M.A., Papadimitriou observed nomadic populations like the Romanies and Walachians in Avliza, a dilapidated part of Athens. She tries to record the dynamics at work there, the various visual and anthropological elements and their mainly peaceful coexistence. The aim is not new images but a new system of art production. In Papadimitriou’s own words, T.A.M.A. wants to create "social institutions for nomadic populations which are dependent on the needs of the nomads' souls."
She presents to visitors eight white plastic garden chairs in the courtyard of the former drainage works administration, casually scattered on a rostrum. The fake Persian carpet on the ground looks after comfortable homeliness, and oriental brass band music from the loudspeaker provides entertainment. Anyone who wants to can sit down there. In any case, you have to look after yourself since the brittleness of the installation of chairs stubbornly refuses any reflection about their visual, sculptural power. It is a place at which people come together in order to part again afterwards in an unsentimental way — a place for temporary nomads. As provisional as this installation seems, it could be packed together at any time and set up again somewhere else. In Greek, ‘tama’ means roughly ‘offer’. The work by Maria Papadimitriou does not want to be anything else.
Frankensteiner Hof, Rittergasse 103, Trespassing, until 25 August. jdv

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