Iterations I-II-III (2023) by Susan Daboll
KATERINA I. ANESTI
In an industrial landmark of the western suburbs, with almost poetic names in every space, where Butterfly and DMC threads were born and are still produced , Kostas Prapoglou presents the exhibition "The Butterfly Effect" with the participation of 41 artists.
May 2023, inside the spiral designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Guggenheim museum in New York, as if holding the end of a thread, we climb up and stand in front of the works of the famous Gego. Threads, wires like threads, like a network that flies, expands, sometimes airy sometimes solid, on five different levels under the title "Measuring infinity". At the end, another network, the network of the era where ready made materials meet flying constructions made of wires and threads: "Timelapse" by Sarah Sze.
With the visit of this experience still intense, driving down the gray, dusty avenue of Kifissou, immediately after its meeting with the Sacred Way, I enter the factory of Klostai Petaloudas - Mouzakis. Where Butterfly and DMC threads, these threads that have been in our lives since we can remember ourselves in the hands of grandmothers, mothers, in ours, have been manufactured since 1944.
In the project How to Build a Universe (2023), Ismini Samanidis develops a multifactorial model of spatial transformation. A multimeter corridor flanked by a series of shelves turns into a mysterious space of threads, of which vast amounts (21 kilometers) spread and multiply throughout the length of the space.
For years, the architect, archaeologist, exhibition curator dr. Kostas Prapoglou was trying to get the space to make a contemporary art exhibition that would clearly revolve around the ongoing operation of the factory and would be connected to dominant themes of our time: networking, gesture, the role of women, communication, community. Until finally, where he thought it would never happen, a meeting led to the realization of the exhibition that took the eloquent title "The Butterfly Phenomenon". The butterfly effect.
The president of the Mouzaki company, John Paul Gagnum, grandson of Eleftherios Mouzaki, and Evangelos Vasilakos, the managing director of the company, embraced this idea, the way in which the historical industry can be connected to the community, society, the production not not only threads, but also ideas, art, dialogue. The result is surprising. You cross industrial production halls that until 3.30 operate normally, you enter warehouses, in spaces that no longer have activities and the dust of time joins machines and memories of the space.
The Game of Thread/Fixing the Ephemeral (2023) by Maria Loizidou is an installation that incorporates a series of works on paper and a video. The designs presented delve into the practice of knitting, which, based on anthropological and ethnological studies, reflects a living documentation of human behavior as well as the ephemeral.
The banner, the mercerize, the steamer
Like a banner of the space, of the exhibition, in a corridor that functions as a washing machine for the factory's vehicles, hangs the first work of the exhibition. "In Process Twice" by Eozen Hagopian, a work that was hung in the space and completed on site by the creator, She moved his trunk from her studio in New York and continued to work on it with materials, threads, fabrics found in the factory . Looking at it from a distance it looks like it has the shape of a butterfly, the colors change according to the course of the sun, while as soon as it blows a little, it sways in space giving new dimensions.
And then it's time to enter the spaces, first of all the ground floor: the mercerize building for example where the thread is given a shine. There you are welcomed like butterfly cocoons, like ghosts of space by 9 floating sculptures made of fabrics, threads, bags found in the factory and her own materials by the American Alison Woods. It is the work "Chrysalis" with the strong reference to the cycle of life as expressed by the butterfly.
The installation Soundless Invasion (2023) by Evie Savvaidis consists of hundreds of large-scale ceramic models of butterflies, which are placed on the factory's countless rows of storage shelves and escape to the adjacent surfaces. Inspired by the hibernating subspecies of the Jersey crucifer (euplagia quadripunctaria rhodosensis) insect. Summer hibernation (aestivation) is a state of animal hibernation, similar to hibernation, but occurring in summer rather than winter. It is characterized by inactivity and reduced metabolism, which occurs as a reaction to high temperatures and dry conditions.
He borders the work with Christina Anid's arrestingly fascinating 'Vortex/ The end of Time'. You see the transparent yellow torso of a woman on the floor - a mold of the body of the creator herself - holding thin golden chains on her fingertips. As you get closer you see that the chain links are dials from wristwatches that lead to the large wall clock labeled "Butterfly". This clock was once synchronized with a central clock (mother clock), connected to everything in the factory premises to show the same time.
"For Anid, time could be a machine that sometimes dissolves us and sometimes becomes a conduit for the transmission of knowledge and experience" notes Kostas Prapoglou. "At a time when physicists and astrophysicists are challenging the way we understand the universe and the multiverse), time is being reshaped into a vortex in which quantum physics profoundly challenges our understanding of reality."
Roots in the air as antennae
A little further, a double surprise. In the space where the vaporizer was located, where the threads were placed, a high temperature developed and they acquired greater strength and durability. A huge cylinder like a time machine, next to which, with an unusual condition, Ada Petranaki has set up, placed upside down, with the roots in the air, dry tree trunks. The sculptural installation "Antennas".
Detail from Klitsa Antoniou's The Declaration of Sentiments and Other Stories (2023) is a four-channel video mapping of pre-existing warehouse surfaces.
"It is a work that wants to comment on solidarity" the artist tells me. "Just as the underground system of rhizomes gives materials to one another, so in the human community they can help one another. The trees are dry as a reminder of coming to terms with fear, the unknown. In this way, the communities reconcile with each other, but they also pay homage to the divine." Like votives, figures hang from the branches, threads, as they still do in Paphos, Paxos and elsewhere in Greece. Three of the dry trees are orange - the absolutely Athenian tree - and at least one is a wild lilac. They come from the repository of dead trees of the Municipality of Athens.
Fragility and Babel of sounds
From the mercerize, the steamer, to the winds. Even the names of industrial spaces based on their use have a clear quality. The sensitive gesture in Dimitra Skandalis' space is riveting. She weaves by hand with seaweed from her island, Paros, retrieves a bag thrown into the sea and embroiders it, weaves flowers on invisible threads and creates a mesh that takes you to another time, sets up bronzed burls. A reference, to the past, present and tradition, the work "weaving the valleys of love" so fragile exists in a space with heavy machinery that until 3.30 pm, works continuously and produces a loud noise.
At the other end of this noise, a chaotic system of 120 bells ringing at different tempos and creating a valley of eerie sounds awaits you as you sit on the chair inside Nikos Tranos' work. A sense of disorientation. The title is "Torball/ Wallpaper for the blind" and it was placed on an old piece of furniture found inside the factory. A Babel of sounds that has a completely different impact on each viewer sitting on the chair in front of the open wardrobe doors.
Eva Nathena with Caller Unknown (2023) delves into the recesses of traditional practice and manages notions of interconnectedness and intelligence in the light of growth and progress.
We pass strange machines, piles of thread spools that could be art installations in themselves, we enter the oldest room of the factory, where they made the strongest threads, intended mainly for the fur industry. The entire space, windows clad with large surfaces of objects photographed by Susan Daboll in the factory.
Loom with old telephone cables
The rest of the works - a total of 41 are exhibited, as is the number where the factory is located on Kifisos Avenue - are presented in the second basement, while four works are located on the ground floor of the specific building, i.e. on the level where the paint shops were located. A mysterious condition, in the darkness and humidity of the factory, the huge spaces, the lighting created by Kostas Prapoglou mainly with factory balladezes. Here, there are no limits, there are no prerequisites, it is like a territory of expression in every way.
The well-known stage designer, visual artist, director Eva Nathena has created a traditional loom from old telephone cables, a masterful installation reminiscent of networks, of communication. "Caller Unknown". Kostas Prapoglou notes: "in an era where artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly invading all aspects of our lives, replacing information and manual work but simulating even human senses, emotion and logic, the Nathena unites disparate technologies of the past where human presence and contribution were once absolutely necessary.
Sandra Osborne's site-specific installation Some Notes on Urns, or What I Can Tell You About Butterflies (2023) responds to the concept of transience in relation to the perishability of our bodies. Using a wide range of materials, such as threads, the artist constructs a new environment where machines and other factory objects are paralleled by manual labor practices expressed through her methods and techniques.
The declaration of feelings
Works that stimulate you as they coexist with machines and facilities of the active factory, works of complete meaning. I am standing in Klitsa Antoniou's installation "The Declaration of Sentiments and Other Stories", a four-channel video mapping on real factory surfaces. In front a small tank (of ideas?) and a teapot. "I started researching the history of women in relation to thread factories, after all, all rebellions started from textile factories," Klitsa Antoniou tells me. “I discovered that the first manifesto written by women was in 1848 in New York by a group of tea drinkers. They wrote the Convention on the Rights of Women and the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions."
So the teapot was set up in front of the video projections, a journey through a transparent fabric, the braid that is a symbol of female abuse, factory threads in a narrative on sacks. The voice of the soprano Maria Papaioannou in a musical composition by Costas Kakogiannis overwhelms the space, she meets Dimitris Skurogiannis' work "The Birth of Venus" directly opposite among factory boxes. A video projection, a man prepares to go on a date, in front of him as a barrier a bed frame, behind him flying scissors are whirled by the current in the space. It starts Sandro Botticelli's work with the same title and recreates the pose of Venus but on a male model.
Lararium (2023) by Sofia Zararis is an industrial sanctuary that encases an elaborate sacred object. Its core consists of seven geometric formations symbolizing the four basic elements (air, fire, water and earth depicted as circles) and representations of the masculine and feminine (triangles), as well as science and technology (square). Skillfully assembled from an array of materials including machine parts, threads, fabrics found within the factory premises, as well as precious stones and crystals, this entity radiates an arcane and almost archetypal energy and power.
The weight of dreams - do you hear that?
As if creating a triangle, at the top of these works, stands the "Weight of Dreams", bathed in the sound of the soprano's voice as well as the hanging weights inherited by the Costa Rican creator Irene Carvajal. "Strange cylindrical objects inherited by the artist from her grandfather, who worked as an engineer at the National Distillery of Costa Rica in the 1940s, compose a site-specific installation. While originally used as weights to measure ingredients to create distilled spirits, these objects are now part of the artist's exploration of her past. A past fragmented by family immigration to the United States. Playing with the boundaries of space and time, Carvajal conceptually connects the two countries (Costa Rica and Greece) whose recent history is characterized by great struggles for the establishment and safeguarding of democracy. Today, it takes 13 hours and 33 minutes to travel between Athens and San Jose, Costa Rica. The installation is made with as many mirrors and bell-shaped objects as the artist managed to create in just this short period of time, during a performance a few months ago. Now everything is suspended by threads from a metal staircase weaving the past with the present, simultaneously combining the industrial past of the two spaces on different sides of the planet."
It is impossible in one text to dwell on each of the 41 works. The narratives are dense, exciting, some instantly readable, others more cryptic. A reference exhibition, in a visual scene that learns to go outside the walls and acquire an unprecedented freedom within spaces of real life, memory, history.
Mouzaki textile factory
41 Kifisou Avenue, Egaleo tel.: 2105447505
Opening hours: Thu.-Sun.: 3.30-8.30 p.m.
Original link in Greek and English can be accessed here: