CATHARSIS: AN ECSTATIC PROCESSION TO DELOS
From 22 July to 24 September 2022
Under the dazzling Aegean light and the purifying Tinian wind, the contemporary art exhibition Catharsis: An ecstatic procession to Delos visualises the instinctive articulation of a modern “mythology of catharsis” that re-enchants the disenchanted reality.
The exhibition draws upon the mystical, visceral and chthonic practices of purification, which were taking place in the temple of Poseidon and Amphitrite at Kionia Tinos before the ancient pilgrims proceeded to Delos. Interweaving fundamental mythological structures with contemporary visual approaches, Catharsis maps the organic interrelation between the two sacred islands and vital religious centres of antiquity, Tinos and Delos. This interaction is concretatised in the in-situ realisation of the 228th Concealment by the renowned Greek artist Dimitris Alithinos and the first presentation in Greece of the emerging artist Dafni Atha.
Pertaining to the noted Concealments, an ongoing project that began in 1981 as a “concealment of memory” and involves an international network of 227 sites, the immersion of a contemporary work of art in the earthy entrails of Arnados constitutes the secular counterpart to the ritual offerings that preceded catharsis. In this ritual schema, the chthōn (earth) that enwraps the object of the concealment – sacrifice – becomes the signifier of the generative and destructive powers that govern art and life. Its rupture breaches the boundaries between the invisible and the visible sharpening the ceremonial dimensions of the performance as a ritual of mediation between the secular and the transcendental. As the work sinks into the bowels of Arnados, it transcends the decay and mortality and enters an inaccessible extra-sensory sphere.
The selected location, opposite the sacred island of Apollo, the god of light, intensifies the mystical character of the performance. From the immaterial light to the stygian darkness, the Concealment instantiates the primaeval procession from the Sun – Father – Phallus to the Earth – Mother – Womb. Concurrently, the immersion of the work into the earth signals its distancing from the physical world, its sacrifice.
In this conceptual framework, the visceral anatomical plasticity of the sanguinary red surfaces of Dafni Atha’s Proliferation series supplements the sacramental character of the exhibition as a preparatory stage leading to catharsis. Evoking the ritual blood sacrifice that preceded purification, drops of undissolved paint and resins with wet textures, Mytilidae and Ostreidae become the fundamental elements of large-scale hemorrhagic compositions. In addition, the molluscs combined with the organic, squishy finishes underpin their correlation with the ritual offerings of animals and shellfish excavated in numerous island sanctuaries.
Facing the infinity of the Aegean Sea and the sacredness of Delos, the exhibition as a contemporary Catharsis aims to cleanse the externally imposed “filters” that obscure the close interrelation between the two islands. In this manner, the show highlights the timelessness of the island’s primordial, archaic and mysterious past by outlining an ecstatic procession to Delos.
The exhibition tοοκ place from 22 July to 15 September 2022, in the traditional village of Arnados, in Tinos. The exhibition developed in two parts: The first part included the Concealment by Dimitris Alithinos and the second the first presentation in Greece of the work of Dafni Atha.
The exhibition was organised by EuroMare, curated by the art historian Alia Tsagkari, under the Auspices of Municipality of Tinos and Tinos Festival, with the support of Ballis Group and Estia Services.