Antigone Michalakopoulou

South

          It was standing there, a few metres from the shore, about twenty centimetres tall, facing the South – the South that always fills me with hope. This time it was hard for me to turn away and just abandon it there. It has never been so hard before. As I was walking away I kept turning my head to have another glimpse of it from afar. At some point I think I must have turned back to it, to have one last close look. Maybe I’m making this scene up, I’m not sure to be honest, but it feels like I turned back just once. Then I left.
          This wasn’t the first little hut I’ve built during my walks here and there in the nature, usually by the beach. This has become a habit almost a year now. But this particular one was made one day before the lock down starts. Since that day I haven’t visited again this place as it’s too far from home. As you can imagine, there is no excuse for me to be there given the circumstances.
          So I grew this affection for this hut. Maybe it was the time of the day, the afternoon light, the deep orange terracotta colour the pebbles I used for the floor had, the cleansing breeze, or the idea of a safe, calming place. I do have the memory of such a place. I remember well the fresh smell of the calm summer sea, the warm pebbles under the naked body, the reassuring shadow a little tree would offer. While balancing the little sticks and building piece by piece the tiny hut, I could imagine the 15 centimetres tall version of myself hanging there. Lying down softly on the orange pebbles, not necessarily alone, gazing far away the South, the South that fills me up with hope.
          As if I needed to bring back and freshen up the memory of that safe summer place, I had my little moment by the beach that day before the lock down, and then I left. One evening a couple of weeks later, I started to draw the hut by memory, like I always do with all the huts I’ve made in the past. This time I didn’t need to challenge my memory or my drawing skills. I only needed to draw it. To watch it unfold in front of me. Each time I would once more pass with my thin brush the diluted ink on the paper, I could feel the afternoon light and the moist breeze on my face.
          Right now, almost one month after that evening, I’m writing this text and I once more feel the sense of this safe, summer place coming back to life. I’m still not allowed to be far from home without a serious reason, given the circumstances. But facing the South, still fills me with hope.

Σπούδασα αρχιτεκτονική στο ΕΜΠ στην Αθήνα (2005), καλές τέχνες στην ΑΣΚΤ (2009) και στο Λονδίνο (St. Martins College), ενώ ολοκλήρωσα το μεταπτυχιακό μου στις Καλές Τέχνες στη Γάνδη, στο Βέλγιο (2014, ΚASK School of Arts Ghent). Έχω λάβει μέρος σε εκθέσεις, φεστιβάλ, καθώς και έχω παρουσιάσει περφόρμανς και workshop στο Βέλγιο, στη Γερμανία, στην Ελλάδα κ.α. Έχω πραγματοποιήσει residencies σε διάφορους χώρους στο Βέλγιο (Workspacebrussels, Kaaistudios, Air Antwerpen, Recyclart Brussels). To 2017, επέστρεψα στην Ελλάδα και τώρα ζω και εργάζομαι όντας σε κίνηση ανάμεσα σε Καλαμάτα, Αθήνα και Βρυξέλλες. Παράλληλα, διδάσκω από το 2009 εντός διαφόρων πλαισίων. Με το καλλιτεχνικό μου έργο διερευνώ τους πολλαπλούς τρόπους με τους οποίους αντιλαμβανόμαστε τις έννοιες του τόπου, του χώρου, του χρόνου και της μνήμης οι οποίες διαμορφώνουν την ταυτότητά μας και τη σχέση μας με τον κόσμο.

I studied architecture in NTUA (2005) Athens, fine arts in ASFA (2009) Athens and in St. Martins College in London, and I obtained my MA in visual arts in School of Arts Ghent (2014) in Belgium. I have taken part in exhibitions and festivals in Belgium, Germany, Greece and other countries with visual works, performances and workshops. I have also followed several residency programs in Belgium (Workspacebrussels, Kaaistudios, Air Antwerpen, Recyclart Brussels). In 2017, I came back in Greece and I now live and work between places (Kalamata, Athens, Brussels). Besides my artistic activity, I practice art education with various age groups and in diverse contexts since 2009. In my work I combine very different media such as performance, video, drawing, photography and installation art, investigating the many ways we perceive the concepts of place, space, time and memory to constitute our identity.

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