In the weeks leading up to the opening of the Copenhagen Art Festival, Yorgos Sapountzis will explore Copenhagen with his poetic and iconoclastic interventions in the public space.
The Greek artist will enter into dialogue with the city’s monuments and statues, often in the dark of night, when the city’s otherwise well-defined spaces and rules become more fluid. During his nocturnal expeditions he will climb onto the sculptures and array them temporarily in colourful attire and rickety constructions, before disappearing into the dark with his tent-like materials under his arm.
The exhibition is the first solo presentation by Yorgos Sapountzis in Denmark, and will be created specifically for Overgaden’s characteristic exhibition spaces during his three week stay in Copenhagen in August. His artistic practice has the character of a fluid movement that interweaves performance and installation, completed work and creative process. He will bring the materials from his nightly excursions into the exhibition space, where the aluminium rods, coloured fabrics, plastic tubes, tape and newsprint will acquire the form of a site-specific total installation, which will also include video recordings of his actions in the public space. Sapountzis has a background in the theatre, and this shows in his performances, in which the public and passers-by are drawn into theatrical processions through the city, as well as in the exhibition, where the works comprise both dramatis personae and scenery in a continuing drama dealing with the myths, symbols and rituals of cultural history.
Taking his cue from the sculptures and monuments of the city, Sapountzis examines the political, ideological and cultural mechanisms that underlie the construction of public monuments, and especially our relationship with them today. By highlighting the monuments’ physical presence here and now, rather than the historical context in which they are embedded, he challenges the notion of a static collective memory. Instead, in his works and performances, he turns the sculptures into socialised and democratic spaces which are open to new stories about our cultural heritage, and to a rethinking of the relationship between the individual, the community, the city and history.