Mystery 19 Visual Arts Initiator III – But Don’t Tell Anyone


Αρχαιολογικός χώρος Ελευσίνας

On 21 and 22 October, 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture presents the ten works that were created in the framework of the third iteration of the artist-in-residence programme Mystery 19 Visual Arts Initiator III – But Don’t Tell Anyone, in a live performance exhibition at the archaeological site of Ancient Eleusis.

Five emerging artists, selected after an open call to participate in the programme, and five international guest artists drew inspiration from the Eleusinian Mysteries, listened attentively to the city and its stimuli, were initiated by each other, experimented, and now present ten original works in interaction with each other, under the guidance of the globally renowned curator Joanna Warsza.

Starting from speculations about the unique pagan rites of the Eleusinian Mysteries, both the residency programme and the ensuing exhibition seek to reinterpret the current meaning of concepts such as initiation and secrecy, extending them in various social, political and poetic directions. The works open up possible readings of death and loss, while reflecting on notions pertaining to the restoration of knowledge, the connection to the planet, the need to overcome any kind of fear and harness hope for a possible afterlife.

When a secret is entrusted to someone, part of the charm is that the recipient of the secret gains the power to reveal it, if they wish, to third parties – discreetly, of course. The Eleusinian Mysteries rank among the most secret and, simultaneously, the most democratic rites performed in ancient Greece. Revealing any information about them was punishable by death. Thousands of people were initiated every year, including women, slaves and non-Greek citizens, swearing an oath of secrecy in order to partake in the mysteries of Demeter. These rites − which touched on the afterlife, the cult of agriculture and rebirth, spirituality, psychedelic and communal experience over the course of almost two millennia − remain an unsolved enigma right down until today, and are still core to the identity of the town, which has since become a major Greek industrial hub.


Participating artists: Vlad Brăteanu (RO) / James Bridle (UK) / Athina Koumparouli (GR) / Esmeralda Momferratou (GR) / Susan Philipsz (UK) / Angelo Plessas (GR) / Yorgos Sapountzis (GR) / Flavia Stagi (IT) / Heidi Voet (BE) / Alex Wolframm (DE)
Curator of Mystery 19 Visual Arts Initiator III – But Don’t Tell Anyone: Joanna Warsza (PO)
Concept of legacy project Mystery 19 Visual Arts Initiator: 2023 Eleusis
Production: Delta Pi

An event by 2023 Eleusis
Supported by the Goethe-Institut Athen

Dates: Saturday 21 & Sunday 22 October 2023
Exhibition hours: 10.00 – 15.00
Venue: Archaeological site of Ancient Eleusis
Guided procession: Saturday & Sunday, 16.00 – 18.30
Meeting point: Entrance of the archaeological site of Ancient Eleusis
Arrival time: 15.30
Admission: 6 euros (The price is the ticket to the Archaeological Site and is issued at the entrance – The site does not have a POS machine)

To participate in the procession, pre-booking is required.
In case of attendance without pre-booking, entry will only take place upon availability due to a limited number of spectators required by the special conditions of the venue.

Athina Koumparouli is a visual arts SNF ARTWORKS Fellow (2022).