SynChrony with ATOPOS cvc

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Welcome to the first installment of SynChrony, a series dedicated to exploring the collective matrix that is shaping the landscape of visual arts in contemporary Athens. By delving deeper into the people, places, and things that are active in this ongoing dialogue, we celebrate the tandem of parts contributing to the creative whole.

SynChrony kicks off with a feature on ATOPOS cvc, a non-profit, cultural organization implementing new ideas through exhibitions, performances and publications that are relevant to the expression and adornment of the human body.

ATOPOS cvc was founded in 2003 by Stamos Fafalios and Vassilis Zidianakis as they merged their varying backgrounds in art, architecture, fashion and anthropology to create an interdisciplinary platform for the arts—it’s name being a derivation from their interest in researching and initiating innovative projects of contemporary visual culture in an ‘atopic’ manner. 

Stamos Farfalios, Director of ATOPOS cvc
Vassilis Zidianakis, Artistic Director of ATOPOS cvc

According to Vassilis, who is also the Artistic Director, “The ancient Greek word «άτοπος» means ‘out of space’ . . . and so . . . strangeunwontedextraordinary. It also includes the characterizations of oddeccentricdisgustingunnatural and foul. These different meanings—altogether and separately—capture what I consider to be art.”

The first exhibition ATOPOS cvc created was RRRIPP!! Paper Fashion which explored the disposable paper fashion that emerged in America in the late sixties. For this exhibition ATOPOS cvc assembled what is now considered a unique collection of rare historical garments and original creations by contemporary designers that relate to the human figure—facilitated through collaborations with museums, galleries and independent artists (among them: Musée d’Orsay, La Gaîté Lyrique, MoMu, 21-21 Design Sight, MUDAM, Centraal Museum, The Benaki Museum, Gallerie Stihl, The Watermill Center).

RRRIPP!! Paper Fashion: a catalogue documenting the extensive “ATOPOS cvc Paper Dress Collection”
Paper Kimono, made of recycled pages from ledger books. Japan, 20th century
Paper dresses in a variety of patterns

In 2010 ATOPOS cvc moved into an Athenian townhouse situated on a pedestrianized street in Metaxourgeio. With it’s sun-kissed courtyard and versatile loggia, 72 Salaminos Street is an inviting space where people and ideas gather—as well as an occasional host to lectures, discussions, performances, workshops and exhibitions related to its research and programs.

Originally built in 1912, the Beaux Arts / Neoclassical style building was restored in 2006, becoming the elegant headquarters it is today that houses the organization’s offices, exhibition space, and the “ATOPOS cvc Paper Dress Collection”, which has garnered international acclaim. In this multi-functional space ATOPOS cvc also instigated the Occupy ATOPOS Residency Program with the aim of collaborating on projects with invited young artists, such as: Craig Green, Ren Hang, Ibrahim Mahama and Clo’e Floirat.

ATOPOS cvc at 72 Salaminos Street
View of interior courtyard

Located on the second level is a unique library—home to a rich collection of fashion, art and visual culture books, which was enjoyed by hundreds of visitors during #TextMe_FluffyLibrary. This large-scale installation, created by Antigoni Tsagkaropoulou and curated by Vassilis Zidianakis in the context of UNESCO’s ‘Athens 2018, World Book Capital’, offered an unconventional space where exploration and interactivity was encouraged through books, costumes, and sculptures.

#TextMe_FluffyLibrary Installation by Antigoni Tsagkaropoulou
Paw draped over entrance of #TextMe_FluffyLibrary

When asked about why ATOPOS cvc is so passionate in its support of the arts,  Vassilis replied: “For me, the importance of art is immense. I have realised with time that what excites me about art is my constant questioning of its meaning—my constant searching of the ways artists seek meaning, create and produce art today.”

It is with this constant spirit that ATOPOS cvc has embraced ARCAthens and our mission to support artists and the visual arts culture in Athens. Earlier this year, ATOPOS cvc generously hosted our “Welcome Event” as our Inaugural Fellows arrived for the Spring 2019 ARCAthens Pilot Program. After a resounding success, we’ve been inspired to collaborate further. So we are thrilled to announce that ARCAthens’ Fall 2019 Residency Program (Oct 1- Nov 15) will be hosted by ATOPOS cvc! Details to follow.

Reading and lounging in #TextMe_FluffyLibrary
Photos of #TextMe_FluffyLibrary were taken by Panos Kokkinias

Learn more about ATOPOS cvc at their website: atopos.gr