The Indo-Hellenic Society for Culture & Development invites you
on Thursday, November 10th, at 20:00
to the opening of the exhibition
at Benaki Museum of Islamic Art (22 Ag. Asomaton & 12 Dipilou st. Τ. 210 3251311)
Duration of the Exhibition: 11 November 2016 – 12 March 2017
Curator of the Exhibition: Eliza Gerolymatou, Art Historian
Communication Sponsor: Indo-Hellenic Society for Culture & Development
“And I thought you, like always, and I felt I could spend four days on a bench with you and it wouldn’t be enough time to hear all the stories you have to tell – I literally want to know everything you have ever seen and what you felt like while you were seeing it. And I will be so much better my whole life for knowing those things.”
Alexandros Georgiou through his own visual look invites us to observe what he observes and inspires him: the mislaid, the ephemeral, the lonely – small instantaneous details between everyday life and life that we leave to pass.
This exhibition entitled “postGods” at the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art project will present Alexandros Georgiou’s two last pilgrimage trips in India. The Chardham began in April and ended in July 2014 and the Maha Shakti Peetha began in November 2015 and was completed in April 2016.
The Chardham was a long journey, during which he traveled with local transport, such as buses and trains. This journey was both difficult and painful for the body but had unique moments for the spirit. It was a pilgrimage to the four corners of India – the four temples that represent the cardinal points and are dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Each one of them represents a different era of humanity, a different «Yuga»:
In the first Yuga (Satya), people were immaterial creatures of spirit and is represented by the temple at Badrinath in the North. Lord Vishnu stayed there in a meditation posture for millions of years in order to recover his spiritual force.
The second Yuga (Treta) Lord Vishnu was born as Rama and took back his wife Sita from Ravana who had abducted her (Ramayana) and is represented by the temple of Rameswaram in the South.
In the third Yuga (Dwapar), the year of the epic Mahabharata, is represented by the temple of Dwarka in the West. Lord Vishnu is born on earth as Krishna and succeeds through tricks to start and develop the war narrated in the Mahabharata. And finally our time, the fourth Yuga (Kali), which is the least spiritual era, is represented the temple of Jagannath at Puri in the East.
The four temples are connected by a single life-pilgrimage that started in the 8th century AD and continues until today.
The statues of the gods absorb the vibrations of the mantras addressed to them in Sanskrit by Brahmans at the temples several times during the day and through sound they are transformed into divine artwork. Through continuous worship over the centuries vibrations accumulate inside the stone turning each statue to a living entity.
Although the pilgrimage was intended to examine the statues of the gods, Georgiou spent most of his time talking about how the comforts of the West numb our senses and kept searching for meanings through small comments, where seemingly there are none.
The artist returns to India in November 2015 for the Maha Shakti Peetha (Pilgrimage to the Great Goddess), a pilgrimage to the 18 major temples – from 51- dedicated to goddess Sati.
The story says that Sati, the first wife of Lord Siva, was the daughter of King Daksha who openly condemned Siva. He could not understand how Siva had no property or home, did meditation and unnecessarily wandered on earth. He felt that his daughter deserved better luck. He decided to challenge Siva in public and invited all the gods for a significant sacrifice leaving only Siva and Sati out. Sati enraged decided to go alone, although Siva tried to convince her otherwise. Sati arrived at her father’s palace, who in front of all the other gods, offended and humiliated both her and her husband. Unable to control her anger she told her father that she did not want to be the daughter of someone who did not recognize neither Siva’s value nor his spiritual powers. So she called fire upon her body and burned herself.
Siva outraged by what had happened punished Daksha and took Sati’s burning body, to return to the Himalayas. As he was flying over India, the body of Sati broke into 51 pieces that fell to earth. Wherever a piece of her body has fallen a temple was built dedicated to the goddess.
Georgiou followed the Maha Shakti Peetha over a period of six months and created works inspired by the temples and the reality and dynamics of everyday life around them.
The title “postGods” of this exhibition was chosen because the gods Alexandros George visited and prayed to in India remain alive and contemporary. They exist alive today and simultaneously stand eternal.
The artist’s work is continuous and in an open dialogue with the viewer. He invites him to look not only with the eyes but basically with the heart, to think and to observe, feel and communicate.
The exhibition at the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art will be a springboard for that very dialogue since the works will be placed in all rooms and throughout the museum even among some of the permanent exhibits inviting visitors on a discovery adventure within a “fragile and occult world” situated between reality and the imagination of the artist.
Guided tours will be carried out by the curator of the exhibition, Eliza Gerolymatou and the artist, Alexandros Georgiou.
Saturday 12.11.2016, 17:00 – Guided tour by Alexandros Georgiou
Sunday 13.11.2016, 12:30 – Guided tour by Alexandros Georgiou Saturday 10.12.2016, 13:00 – Guided tour by Eliza Gerolymatou
Sunday 22.12.2016, 17:00 – Guided tour by Alexandros Georgiou Saturday 23.12.2016, 17:00 – Guided tour by Alexandros Georgiou
This post is also available in: Ελληνικα (Greek)