The “Office of Hydrocommons” presents the exhibition “Wet Heart”

22.03.23 @ 18:00


The “Office of Hydrocommons” is an interdisciplinary and interartistic program that focuses on climate and social change in relation to water and the body. Informed by the properties of water’s liquidity, the endeavor unfolds in different manifestations: an exhibition, an international artist residency, a series of weekly public events, and the Research Office. “Hydroresearchers” from different fields, such as the arts, marine biology, agronomy, urbanism, sports, and activism, are invited to participate in the program. The Office of Hydrocommons is actualized following an invitation by the ATOPOS cvc artistic director Vassilis Zidianakis to the independent curator Eleni Riga in the context of #ΟccupyAtopos.

Exhibition “Wet Heart”
From the positionality of the Mediterranean South, the artists participating in the exhibition “Wet Heart” investigate problems such as water scarcity, the deterioration of the natural environment due to industrial, touristic, and military activities, and the pollution of waters due to plastics and microplastics; at the same time, they reflect on their impact onto vulnerable human and non-human lives.

Departing from the “wet heart,” the well in the center of the ATOPOS cvc premises, five Greek visual artists – the duo Ileana Arnaoutou and Ismene King, Eleni Mylonas, Maria Nikiforaki, Despina Charitonidi – respond to crucial questions about water: Which waters are we talking from? Which waters are we talking about? On which waters are we standing? What are “our” waters?

Ileana Arnaoutou, Ismene King
Artwork: A Conservation of Water-Writings

The creation of the site-specific sculpture “A Conservation of Water-Writings” by Ileana Arnaoutou and Ismene King is fueled by encounters around the well, and based on an alternative experiential relationship with the well itself, drawing on expanded practices of care. The artists approach the well by “performing a gesture of caress” – a hand touch that carries messages of care – and try to retrieve its history, the places where water once traversed or stood, the places where the moisture eroded the stone, the hollow from the pulley in which bryophytes grew. The practice of caressing is linked to haptonomy, the “science of sensitivity” developed by Dutch healer Frans Veldman in the 1960s. In prenatal medicine, a series of targeted gestures of touching the abdomen allows for the creation and tightening of the emotional bond between parents (be they biological or foster) and their children. Similarly to a parent communicating with a baby in the womb, the artists communicate with water. It is “a way of facilitating life beyond biological pregnancy” (“gestationality” Neimanis 2017), “a form of broadly inclusive kinship” (The Care Collective 2020).

A Conservation of Water-Writings, 2023
Installation, iron, resin, aluminum, rubber, stoneware clay, dimensions variable

Ileana Arnaoutou and Ismene King’s work is realized with the support of ATOPOS cvc and the G. & A. Mamidakis Foundation as part of the Research Residency Program 2022.

The collaborative duo was formed in 2019, between Ismene King and Ileana Arnaoutou. Ismene King (b.1993) is a sculptress and ceramist, graduate from the MFA Sculpture of the Slade School of Fine Ar. Ileana Arnaoutou (b.1994) is a painter and sculptress, graduate from the BA Fine Art of the Slade and the MA History of Art of University College London. They are currently based in Athens. They have been awarded the G&A Mamidakis Foundation Art Prize 2022 for their work ‘Tender shell geophilia’, and they have both received the ARTWORKS Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Artist Fellowship.

For photo materials visit the project’s press kit, which will constantly be updated during the course of the project.

Visiting Hours

Free admission with pre-booking

For more information, please contact ATOPOS cvc at [email protected]
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