Vasilis Papageorgiou |Sunseekers or Dimming the Sun or

01.03.24 @ 20:00

Salzburger Kunstverein

Vasilis Papageorgiou, Beach Towel I, 2023, copper plated beach towel, 67 x 67 x 7 cm, detail, courtesy of the artist. Photo: Alina Lefa.

In “Sunseekers or Dimming the Sun or” Vasilis Papageorgiou reflects on the vicious cycle between labour, leisure, and exhaustion (both human and planetary). By associating the depletion of planetary resources with burnout, Papageorgiou investigates the relationship between capitalist systems of pleasure, their role in the cyclical depletion of planetary resources, and the loop these create in relation the need for rest and regeneration.

The concept of the exhibition is somewhat influenced by George Papam’s text Hospitality Fatigue: Symptoms and Potions (in: Island after Tourism – Escaping the Monocultures of Leisure, Kyklada Press, 2023), in which the author is exploring different models of inhabiting and relating to landscape. Following, Papargeorgiou links the exhaustion of planetary resources to burnout, poetically employing the beach as a central metaphor to portray it as the ultimate fantasy where the dichotomies of nature and human indulgence merge. He reflects on leisure and pleasure as both a cause and a symptom of this exhaustion, hinting that structures of leisure, such as private beaches, contribute to further resource depletion, trapping humanity in a vicious cycle that ultimately stifles imagination.

The exhibition operates with several motifs embedded in the exhibition as sculptures or in the form of video installation. The metal sunbeds with various significant elements such as copper-plated beach towels, or a flower that emerges from beneath a sunbed, as a symbol of resilience against the structures of human-created leisure. Quotidian situations in which people utilize water against heatwaves in different parts of Europe are captured by the artist by his phone camera. One video depicts an elderly lady in the village Lin in Albania throwing a bucket of water on the street. Another shows affluent children playing in a fountain at Place des Vosges in Paris. These contrasting uses of water in different European contexts underscore the disparity in resource utilization in the cycle of leisure and exhaustion.

Vasilis Papageorgiou (*1991, Athens, Greece) is an artist based in Athens. His work has been showcased in notable exhibitions, including the 7th Athens Biennale – Eclipse (2021), Benaki Museum (2019), Stavros Niarchos Cultural Foundation (2019), and MAXXI – the National Museum of 21st Century Arts (2019). He also participated in the 6th Moscow International Biennale for Young Arts (2018), among others. Additionally, Papageorgiou is a co-founder of Enterprise Projects, an initiative and project space in Athens, established in 2015, that focuses on artist and curator collaborations.

*Vasilis Papageorgiou is SNF ARTWORKS Visual Arts Fellow 2018