We stay safe. But always connected. The Onassis Foundation announced a few weeks ago the commission of new works by artists across generations and the arts, created in their homes in 120 hours or less and drawing on experiences through the COVID-19 pandemic and its many transformations of life as we know it.
For the ENTER project, Onassis Stegi and Onassis USA have commissioned artists across the globe to prepare new works in 120 hours. The thought behind it is that we need to include and understand the present, to learn from it, to narrate and banish it, at the same time creating a digital time capsule, which will preserve the memory of this period for future generations. During the pandemic time-space, houses, apartments, gardens, roof-terraces and balconies become our new site-specific stages. Children, husbands and wives, grandparents, roommates, even pets become, alongside their household goods, characters and props, as the artist’s laptop is turned into a creative superpower.
From New York to Athens and Berlin, from Tokyo to Beirut, from Los Angeles to London, the following artists have already welcomed us at their homes: Isabella Rossellini & Paul Magid, 600 Highwaymen, Maria Antelman, Kimberly Bartosik, Annie Dorsen, Kathryn Hamilton (SisterSylvester), Emily Johnson, Risa Puno, Radiohole, Stefanos Tsivopoulos, Elias Adam, Ziad Antar, Efthymis Filippou, Andonis Foniadakis, Simos Kakalas, Vasilis Kekatos, Lena Kitsopoulou, Maria Papadimitriou, Evi Kalogeropoulou, Kareem Kalokoh – ATH Kids, RootlessRoot, Alexis Fidetzis & Kostis Stafylakis &Theo Triantafyllidis, Akira Takayama. For the series’ fourth week, Onassis USA has enlisted the Queens Museum as curator, and the Museum has engaged artists and poets including Xin Liu, Samita Sinha, Frisly Soberanis, Alina Tenser & Gabo Camnitzer, and QUEENSBOUND to contribute new works.
In the following days, also available will be new, original works about various artists across genres and places. Each one, but ultimately all together, create a series of works that beam from their living room over to ours, bringing the message that art cancels out distance.
As the Director of Culture of the Onassis Foundation, Afroditi Panagiotakou notes: “We needed something to breath differently. To see and live through an experience proving that the mind does not stop giving birth to ideas when you enclose it, out of necessity, in the four walls of a house; that imagination does not stop, when we are surrounded by fear of what is happening, by the agony of what may come to pass. We turned towards the people who transport us to other worlds; to those who, with their art, enrich our lives. The artists. This group of people who tend to our soul and move our thought. How does a dancer dance in his kitchen? How many images capture the eyes of a director, when he spends most of his time on his couch? Is the entire house a scene? We enter in order to see. As guests. You too. ENTER.”
According to Vallejo Gantner, Artistic and Executive Director of Onassis USA: “The space created, filled and tragically sometimes taken away by COVID, has challenged how we experience and make new art. This strange combination of isolation and constant reaching out; of new ways of listening and talking, and of touching and being touched—have inspired us to create a new commissioning program called ENTER which we hope will be in part a kind of artistic time capsule, refracting the frustration, grief, comedy, and fear of this moment of pandemic.
We hope this is just round one of many micro-commissions—all native to quarantine, digital delivery, and social distance. With these works we champion and support the artists who we believe will articulate our future, and enable them to stride forward in new forms. These artists (and their families, pets and homes!) represent a diverse array of ideas, genres, disciplines and histories—both familiar and new to the Onassis Foundation. Each has been made under severe time constraints with only the materials they had at hand. That is to say, we love their ambition and blemishes equally.”
Image: Isabella Rossellini and Paul Magid, Darwin, What? (still). Film.
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