Never Cross the Same River Twice 

June 6 - September 25, 2021

@ space52, Athens

Supported by NEON Organization’s Contemporary Art Exhibition Grants (2021-2022) and the Polyeco Contemporary Art Initiative (PCAI).

Artists: Ahmet Öğüt, Ariana Papademetropoulos, Daisuke Takeya, Emo de Medeiros, Eva Papamargariti, George Drivas, Gilivanka Kedzior, Harold Offeh, Longinos Nagila, Marinella Senatore, Mary Zygouri, Moataz Nasr, Monica de Miranda, Sammy Baloji and Lazara Rosell Albear, Stefanos Tsivopoulos, Valentina Karga

Never Cross the Same River Twice embraces expansive videographies that aim to foster new forms of transnational and collective assembly. Curated by Ariana Kalliga and Kisito Assangni, the exhibition forms a time-shifting survey of performances converging between video, film and installation.

Referencing Heraclitus’ river, which conceived identity as an ever-evolving and fluctuating entity, the title of the exhibition is a call to invent new grounds in place of entrenched environmental, political, and regulatory systems. The selected video works act as sites of visual contestation; cinematic aesthetics with narratives that re-remember; they reclaim histories and ancestries; decolonize both the mind and the imagination. Exploring the limits of film as activism, several of the works reflect what Argentinian scholar Walter D. Mignolo termed the “epistemic disobedience and decolonial freedom” needed to rebuild just and non-colonial futures.

From a “coming community” to a planetary escape, the exhibition opens up uncanny spectral exits to new geopolitical and collective imaginaries. Accompanied by a parallel series of bi-weekly screenings and talks, including a night organized by the Athens School of Fine Arts (LAB12), Never Cross the Same River Twice aims to expand the interconnected motifs weaved throughout the exhibition program; history, ancestry, ethnography, spirituality, memory, colonization, Afrofuturism, feminism, diaspora, identity, globalization, consumerism, myth. 

Monica de Miranda, Beauty, 2018. Video Still. Courtesy of the artist.

“The river—here taken as a metaphorical border of identity, experience, and subjectivity—is a polyphonic realm that is in constant movement. It is a border that asks with every rapid, eddy, and bend, “Who is Man?” It is a border that the artists in this exhibition, who span the African and Mediterranean diasporas, choose to dwell-in rather than cross-over in their reflections of society and propositions for the future. Their films and performances show us that by dwelling for a while in the borders of categorization, knowledge, and truth, we not only see how the edges of the categories we use to define the world keep shifting and move further away as we approach them, we see how our own identities are changed by lingering in these zones.”

︎︎︎Excerpt from Erin Gleason’s essay in the exhibition’s catalog

Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca, Faz que vai, 2015. Installation View. Courtesy of space52, Athens.

Public Programs

Set to Go (Public Program I) 

Artists: Lotte Andersen, Tibor de Laminne de Bex, Adham Faramawy, Santiago Gómez, Luiz Roque, Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca

Curated by Samantha Ozer

Set to Go, the exhibition’s first public program event curated by Samantha Ozer, brings together an international group of artists whose works consider the multivalent potentialities between music and dance and the political possibilities for how these entangled forms of cultural production both shape and indicate personal, collective, and even national identities.

Taking its title from Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca’s work Faz que vai (Set to go) (2015), the program looks at movements in flux and in the process of becoming. Their work refers to a Frevo dance step that simulates a moment of instability, which, taken as a statement, offers a meditation on the power of movement, of rhythm, to address gender, socioeconomic, and environmental issues as well as the maintenance and transformation of cultural heritage and identity. To go is to traverse new regions through movement and music, instigate environments, engage with new ecologies, and bring bodies together.

The public program aims to expand the exhibition’s interconnected themes, exploring how the histories of certain music and movements are developed, re-mixed and spread; the extent that music and movement form and become emblematic of national identity; how dance can exist as a form of resistance, of therapy, of contagion; how memory is stored in the body and released collectively; the extent that dance has political agency; and how the existence of sound and movement is intertwined with histories of trauma, oppression, while also existing as processes for joy and catharsis.

Luiz Roque, O Novo Monumento (A New Monument), 2013. Video Still. Courtesy of the artist.

Tibor de Laminne de Bex, Climatic Migration, 2020. Video Still. Courtesy of the artist.

Screening of Adham Faramawy, My fingers distended as honey dripped from your lips and we danced in a circular motion, 2019. Courtesy of space52, Athens.

Ineffable Islands: eight films from Cyrpus (Public Program II)

Artists: Haris Epaminonda, Rahme Veziroğlu, Marios Lizides, Marina Xenofontos, Argyro Nicolaou, Alexandros Pissourios, Dimitris Chimonas, Maria Anastassiou

Curated by Argyro Nicolaou

The second public program developed in the framework of Never Cross the Same River Twice, “Ineffable Islands: eight films from Cyprus” captures the breadth of moving image practices by Cypriot artists working locally and internationally.

The artists featured in the program explore the ineffable realities of an inevitably varied, multiple, and often contradictory, Cypriot experience. They expand that experience beyond the boundaries of the island itself, to include a search for alternative definitions and forms; a keen sense of the overdetermined nature of identity and history; a queering of narratives and appearances; and a diasporic impulse.

Whether dealing directly with Cypriot subjects or tackling issues (from) elsewhere; using found images, 16mm, Super8 or video; the films featured in this program point to the expansive possibilities of a small and ‘troubled’ place with an outsize power of challenging the certainty of meaning.

Dimitris Chimonas, Globus Sensation, 2020. Video Still. Courtesy of the artist. 

Athens School of Fine Arts: Screening of student films (Public Program III)

Artists: Katerina Alexandri, Angelica Barli, Nasia Drimousi, Smaragda Karamperi, Markella Ksilogiannopoulou, Froso Papadopoulou, Theodora Savvalaridi

Curated by Evi Roumani 

Working closely with ASFA LAB12 Coordinator Evi Roumani in collaboration with students from the Athens School of Fine Arts (LAB 12), the exhibition’s third public program culminated in the screening of video works and poetry created in response to the exhibition’s themes.

Athens School of Fine Arts (Lab12) students and Professor Poka-Yio at Public Program III (July 10, 2021). Courtesy of space52, Athens.


︎︎︎Curators: Ariana Kalliga & Kisito Assangni
︎︎︎Coordinator: space52 Founder, Dionisis Christofilogiannis
︎︎︎Catalog Design: Pantelis Vitaliotis-Magneto
︎︎︎Poster Design: Virginia Russolo 
︎︎︎Catalog Editor: Ariana Kalliga
︎︎︎Essays by: Erin Gleason and Beschara Karam
︎︎︎Public Program Guest Curators: Argyro Nicolaou, Samantha Ozer, Evi Roumani (LAB12, ASFA)

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