You’ll see; this time it’ll be different (2013)
20 x AO (841mm x 1189mm) inkjet prints, silkscreen print, sellotape and various ‘stains’.
Single screen video: 7 mins 44s
In You’ll see; this time it’ll be different Adam Chodzko stages a retrospective exhibition of imaginary Benaki Museum (Athens) posters from the near future (2068-2078), installed along the liminal space of the Pireos building’s interior ramp. Through this poster series, their combination of imagery, design and Greek and English textual information, the Benaki Museum is seen to have spread into surprising, remote and awkward venues across Greece, (eg; The site of the old train station, Ormenion, Evros; The Bauxite Mines, Fokida; All the Greenhouses throughout Ierpetra, Crete, etc ) ending up scattered and yet creating through this dispersal a broader sense of its ‘whole’. Acquiring their ‘aura’ from traces of age, damage and use (oil and food stains, sellotaped corners, ‘dog eared’ corners, drawing pin holes, etc) these posters have moved from functional, informative museum poster, to decorative domestic poster, to now archived cultural artefact. You’ll see; this time it’ll be different was made through Chodzko’s research into the Benaki museum’s archives, exploring the different phases in its history of the integration, and the more recently, separation, of its collection along thematic divisions.
With exhibition titles such as “Greedy Elders and the Rituals of Fashion“, “Sexuality and Rain”,“Gender, Laughter and Flooding” and “Unpopularity” it is clear that culture has taken a different direction adopting some unusual leaps and affiliations between fields of knowledge and moving into areas of experience currently outside more accepted curatorial themes in contemporary art .
Accompanying this collection of exhibition posters from the future is a video which documents the various ‘private collections’ that have been custodians of these records of the museum’s activities. Revealing a series of ordinary domestic spaces where these posters have hung or been stored (a child’s bedroom wall, a car, a shed, a bathroom etc) we see that rather than originating from official and national sources they are on loan from diverse, remote, unofficial and unexpected places on the periphery of metropolitan institutional archives, where they existed preserved and protected as part of everyday life.
You’ll see; this time it’ll be different was made in the midst of Greece’s financial crisis with its austerity measures threatening the functioning of cultural institutions whilst the emergence of an aggressive, xenophobic, ultranationalism (as epitomised by Golden Dawn) also put pressure on cultural institutions to reinforce Greek identity in an attempt to demonstrating its ‘superiority’. Chodzko’s installation therefore imagines a post-crisis survival of the museum, (possibly after an environmental disaster on top of its other human failures) becoming heterogeneic, defiantly open to difference, the new and the obscure, outward looking and adventurous with part of that culture preserved and reinterpreted by ‘outsiders’ (a process of ‘outsourcing’ or ‘image moderation’ Chodzko adopted in The Pickers (2009), The Gorgies Centre (2002), Cell-a (2002) etc).
Chodzko has, in a number of works (eg: Hole (2007) and Because…(2013) ) considered the museum as an emotional and idiosyncratic living being. The Benaki Museum in You’ll see; this time it’ll be different reveals a body that becomes increasingly hybrid as it integrates into daily life and, as Chodzko’s title suggests, is now hoping to make a change. Indeed, this Museum also incorporates a more literal sense of embodiment; established and endowed in 1930 by Antonis Benakis he requested that his heart be buried in the Museum’s walls, (the plaque describing this appears in the poster Sex and Rain). Chodzko imagines the moment where the mind of the museum reflects on its recent activities and decides to challenge itself and us to reconsider and deconstruct stereotypes regarding both its audience and its exhibits. This process perhaps leads us to question assumptions about who a museum might be for, who defines meaning and and what and who determine’s the value of a nation’s culture and consequently takes responsibility for preserving and promoting it?
In the spirit of the “Artists in Dialogue with the Benaki Museum” programme, the installation You’ll See; This Time it’ll Be Different thus reflects on the role of the museum in the representation of history, memory, knowledge and tradition, as well as on the conditions of viewing and on the relation between artistic production and the institutional space of its reception. Adam Chodzko’s work is the third project realized in the framework of the “Artists in dialogue with the Benaki Museum”, a collaboration with the British Council programme and aims to bring together artists from Greece and Britain. Andy Holden’s The Cookham Erratics (Main Building, 2011) and Antonis Pittas’ Landart (Pireos Street Annexe, 2012) preceded Chodzko’s project.