ARTisSpectrum | Volume 29 |
Thessaloniki, Greece
by Ermina Avramidou
Perhaps against all odds, Greek art continues to prove to be an emphatic player in the international art scene, with a vigor and
ingenuity all the more germane in times of economic recession and sociopolitical crisis.
One of the last urban seafronts in Southeastern Europe, Thessaloniki, is Greece’s second largest city, tucked between relics of
Byzantine antiquity, avant-garde art galleries, bohemian nightclubs, and culinary hot spots. Historically one of Europe’s old-
est and multi-ethnic cities, the best way to get a tangible sense of the city’s soul is by walking around the centuries old street
markets, from Ano Poli to Aristotelous Square, strolling through the kaleidoscope of Louloudadika, or promenading by the
seaside with a view of the city’s landmark, the 14th century White Tower.
And although the Euro crisis has caused discontentment, Thessaloniki continues to endure and demonstrate several significant
projects on an institutional level. Premier among them is the Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, the largest meeting
point for international artists and various artistic practices, organized since 2011 by the ‘5 Museums Movement’ (5M) and
bringing together the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, the Museum of Byzantine Culture, the Macedonian Museum
of Contemporary Art, the Teloglion Foundation of Art (Aristotle University) and the leader of the project, the State Museum
of Contemporary Art – Costakis Collection. This year the Thessaloniki Biennale will be organized for the fourth consecutive
year with a program yet to be announced (for more information
). The
‘5 Museums Movement’ regularly promotes exhibitions and art events with an international focus.
Another equally important contemporary art event in Thessaloniki is the annual Alternative meeting, which has been running
since 2001 in the ex-military camp of Karabournaki, in Kalamaria, east of the city center. ‘Action Field Kodra,’ as it is called, fo-
cuses on young artists and experimental creativity aspiring to be a dynamic form of non-museum exhibition in Southeastern
Europe, presenting the greatest trends in art painting, video, photography, installations and new technology. By means of
hosting artists, the event attracts art theorists and curators who are interested in visual arts “as one of the most penetrating
mechanisms of understanding political circumstances as well as one of the most intrusive methods of speech.” Action Field
Kodra systematically expands on both regional and international high quality artistic creation, while it has enriched its program
with an international conference articulating original discourse on issues of art theory, philosophy and cultural research in
dialogue with the festival’s main program and central concept (
For artists and audiences alike, the Thessaloniki art scene is one deserving of its prominent status among the international
milieu. Rooted in axioms of experimentation and soaring in interpretive thought, the city and its artistic venues welcome par-
ticipants to join in as it inaugurates a new vision of the European classical tradition.
photographs taken by Aris Rammos
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