The Courtauld and The Sotiris Felios Collection present exhibition curated by graduate Kirk Patrick H. Testa

27 Oct 2022

The Courtauld Institute of Art and The Sotiris Felios Collection present the exhibition Poetics of the Ordinary: Still Lifes from the Sotiris Felios Collection curated by Kirk Patrick H. Testa, who recently graduated from the MA History of Art programme.

The exhibition opens on Wednesday 2nd November 2022 at 18.00 – 21.00 at the art space 16 Fokionos Negri in Athens. Poetics of the Ordinary: Still Lifes from the Sotiris Felios Collection is the first exhibition presented in the context of the Residency Programme and is the culmination of curator Kirk Patrick H. Testa’s six-week residency in Athens. During this time, Kirk immersed himself in its vibrant arts community and developed his research and curatorial practice through meeting artists and art professionals from leading museums and galleries of Greece. The exhibition comprises paintings, drawings, and sculptures by Tasos Aridas, Christos Bokoros, Chronis Botsoglou, Leda Contogiannopoulou, Stefanos Daskalakis, and more.

Curator’s notes:

“Historically considered the lowest of the types of painting, the still life genre is a locus of oppositional forces: the fragment and the whole, the ephemeral and the eternal, or the sacred and the profane. Despite its simplicity in subject matter through the representation of mundane objects, this genre of painting encourages beholders to perform slow looking, an experience corrupted by our digital age’s deluge of images. This problem of having ‘too much world’, as coined by media theorist Hito Steyerl, stems from the ungraspable velocity of data and information within our globalized digital world.

“One remedy to the nausea and angst produced by the twenty-four-hour news cycle and algorithmic social media feeds are encounters with art that invite beholders to pause, slow down, and reflect on lived reality. Poetics of the Ordinary: Still Lifes from the Sotiris Felios Collection offers such an opportunity. Comprising works from The Sotiris Felios Collection, this exhibition offers insight not only into the sensibilities of the collector, but also an opportunity to witness the continuity between classical and contemporary Greek culture.

“Sparking dialogue between the public and the still life works in the collection, this exhibition also features a social media campaign inviting the public to submit digital still life photographs from everyday life, using hashtag ‘#stillathens’. Including these photographs in the exhibition will help produce a contrapuntal relationship between the rhythms of contemporary life and the works from the collection.”

About the residency programme

Two residencies are offered per academic year, the first with a focus on Art History and the second for Curating later in the year. In the coming months we will invite applications from recent alumni and all current postgraduate and third-year undergraduate students of The Courtauld Institute of Art with an academic background in art history or curating to participate in a six-week, fully-funded residency with The Sotiris Felios Collection in Greece. One applicant per residency will be selected by a panel comprised of members from The Courtauld, the Collection and external panelists. Residents of the Programme are given the opportunity to develop their art research by engaging in self-initiated projects that build on themes linked to the Collection and the artistic community of Athens.

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