Taking as her starting point the overall theme of the 54th Biennale di Venezia, namely ILLUMInations,Diohandi will create a site specific installation in the Greek Pavilion titled Beyond Reform. This major intervention will explore space and time and will see the pavilion’s interior and exterior revised, as an existing space, which stands at a given point in time. The Byzantine-style façade will be visible through small cracks in the surface of a new outer shell which will cover the original structure, while water, light and sound will be dominant elements of the pavilion’s interior. Access to the interior will be from an ascending hallway running the length of the Pavilion between a surface of water, leading all the way up to sheer light. Following extensive research into the architecture and history of the Greek Pavilion, Diohandi’s new space will see the surrounding environment blend with the interior, proffering new ways in which building fabric, light, sound and water can coexist. Venice’s spatial structure and the city’s historical features have also had a crucial role in developing the work.
Diohandi remarks in reference to ILLUMInations: “My research understands the theme in its deepest, most basic sense. Starting with what is a very specific, concrete, strictly rational space, I am intervening to reform the space, one that is different in terms of both structure and emotional charge, where the dialogue between viewer and work/space is at once ambiguous and animated. I am shaping the pavilion’s image, both outside and inside: the entire space is remodeled, although none of these interventions will actually affect the existing structure. Sound and light will also feature, which are indispensable to the work.”
Of the artist, curator Maria Marangou comments, “Diohandi is an artist almost exclusively concerned with site specific work, and especially with the relationship between space and time. It is precisely her interest in specific spaces at specific moments in time that leads her to use materials found at the site of each of her works. The installation at the Greek Pavilion in a way reflects, with Diohandi’s specific work, the current political state of Europe and of the world at large. It is at the same time, obviously, a comment on the contemporary Greek experience of economic recession and IMF tutelage: a place of light thrown into darkness and decline, holding on, almost willy-nilly it seems, to hopes of spiritual and sociopolitical reconstruction; in other words, to a vision of light that should bring along clarity of mind, as if the ultimate catharsis.”
Diohandi was born in Athens in 1945. She studied painting and engraving at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome, as well as Architecture, Costume Design and Graphic Design in London and Rome. Since 1967, she has presented fourteen solo exhibitions in cities including Rome, Athens, Nicosia, Edinburgh and Eleusis. She has participated in 119 group exhibitions in several countries including Greece and Cyprus, as well as in the VII Biennale de Paris and the XII Bienal de São Paulo. Diohandi has collaborated with Greek and European art historians and curators. She has won international awards in Italy, Ireland, Germany and Norway, while her works are in museums and private collections in amongst others, Greece, Italy, Poland, New York and the Seoul Olympic Park, Korea. She lives and works in Athens, Greece. Diohandi is represented by the Kalfayan Galleries, Athens, Thessaloniki.
The Commissioner:The Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism
Οrganisation: Directorate of Visual Arts – Department of Promotion of Contemporary Art, The Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism
Curator: Maria Marangou; Assistant Curator: Stavros Kavallaris