Tears and Parades
Opening: 6 June at 6 pm
6– 30 June 2014
Studio-atelier Mikado, Ljubljana
WHERE: Slovenska cesta 6, Ljubljana
The exhibition of Greek photographer Vangelis Georgas, Tears and Parades, is the prize awarded for the best portfolio in frames of the first Photonic Moments Portfolio Review, held in Ljubljana in 2012. The project deals with the aftermath of the economic crisis and its socio-economic and political consequences in Athens, Greece.
Greece is going through its sixth year of recession. Since 2008 GDP has dropped by 17%, leaving more than 25% of the population living under the poverty line. Unemployment has reached 28%, with youth unemployment being close to 60%. The sudden and dramatic drop of the quality of life of big parts of the population, and the ruining of hopes of the new generation, has brought many on the verge of despair. Although objective material well being in Greece might still compares favourably with many other EU countries, it is the subjective experience of falling life prospects that is more politically salient.
The 2012 elections have registered a political backlash to austerity policies, with the collapse of moderate political forces and the assent of parties of the extreme right and left. Stereotypical photojournalistic imagery provides a representation of the crisis in Greece through images of riots, homeless people and drug addicts. This highly iconic and emotionally laden topics, however, apart from the fact that they were always present, fail to grasp how the crisis is experienced by the vast majority of the population.
Georgas does not claim to offer a comprehensive account of events or analysis. He rather tries to convey what he has personally experienced as a change in the mood in Athens, a generalised feeling of depression that looms over the city and its population. The streets and bars of the centre around Omonia square, once the commercial heart of the city which have lately been left to degradation, political rallies, religious gatherings of immigrant communities, and demonstrations against austerity, have been the sites where he looked for his subject matter.
His photographic narrative is built around the contrast between isolated people in the crowd and venues where new collective identities are being constructed. Blending fact and personal vision, he sees his work as a personal documentary that explores the potential of seemingly realist and representational images to act as visual metaphors.