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25th Bienal De São Paulo

Maria Papadimitriou, Temporary Autonomous Museum for All (T.A.M.A), National Participation at the 25th Bienal De São Paulo.

Commissioner: Efi Strousa.


The Greek proposition for "Metropolitan Iconographies".

Greece is to participate in the 25th Bienal of São Paulo, to be held from March 23 to June 2, 2002 with the theme “Metropolitan Iconographies”, with Maria Papadimitriou’s Τ.Α.Μ.Α. (Temporary Autonomous Museum for All). The Commissioner for the Greek participation is art historian Efi Strousa. The Greek presence in Brazil is financed and organised by the Ministry of Culture.

The theme of the 25th Bienal of São Paulo, “Metropolitan Iconographies”, provides an opportunity for an international showing of a very interesting ongoing project initiated four years ago at Avliza, the settlement of a nomadic Vlach-Rumanian community near Athens.

The Τ.Α.Μ.Α. (Temporary Autonomous Museum for All) is the potential result of the artist’s involved research and action around one of the most crucial concerns of contemporary art—the artists’ relation with the urban environment.

In this work Maria Papadimitriou emphasises the social role of the artist, channelling her creativity into the core of the acute problems arising from the contrasts between centre and periphery, high and low social strata and the lack of social structures to deal with the multicultural character of the metropolis.

Contemporary art keeps drawing from the constantly changing, contradictory picture of the city. The effectiveness of the artistic presence is not necessarily measured by the scale of a sculptural or architectural project but by the quality of the artistic act and the degree of sensitivity through which a social and physical space may assume a more essential role in the overall social development.

On the one hand the work of Papadimitriou reveals the weak points of the city’s social structure; on the other hand, it sheds light on the daily existence of the people in an area where, for all its utter destitution, life goes on in its own creative way.

The Temporary Autonomous Museum for All is based on the value of inventiveness, being open to propositions and ideas by artists, architects and people from the realm of arts and letters who respond to the call to contribute to alternative ways of action and perceive life as developing through a course between fixed and changing structures; in this way the ‘temporary’ becomes an ‘autonomous’ field of creativity.

The T.A.M.A. is the sum of the activities of Maria Papadimitriou in collaboration with her volunteer associates and the people of Avliza, aimed at designing and realising an infrastructure which would improve their standards of living. This resulted in designs for various spaces, open or indoor, such as modular homes, buildings for children’s creative activities, recreation and guest facilities, kiosks, etc., offered by the T.A.M.A. to the Roma community in a primary form and the inhabitants themselves are left free to complete them according to their own aesthetics.

Over the last two months that Maria Papadimitriou has been working on the presentation of the project at the 25th Bienal de Sao Paulo, a parallel effort was initiated to find sponsors to undertake the realisation of some of the T.A.M.A. structures proposed by a team of architects, who were amongst the first supporters of the artist’s idea. The T.A.M.A., which aims for broad social participation, is gradually becoming a reality thanks to positive response from cultural institutions and individuals from the art world. Up to this moment, some of the most prestigious art-lovers and organizations, such as ALPHA BANK, Mr. Prodromos Emfietzoglou (art collector), Ms. Anny Costopoulou (artist and art collector), Mr. Dakis Joannou (art collector), Prof. Constantinos Papagheorghiou (art collector) have already adhered to the idea of the T.A.M.A. and will contribute by offering the means for the realization of some of the structures proposed in the project. At the same time, an ever increasing number of young artists and people from various disciplines are supporting it by their active participation.

The Ministry of Culture has already responded by undertaking one of the projects, the Kiosque à Culture by Brazilian artist Fabiana de Barros, which was warmly received by the community and has been taken over by the children who engage in creative activities with Maria Papadimitriou.

The artist shall use the 100 sq. m. available at the São Paulo Bienal to convey her experience from Avliza and the Roma community through a visual environment with video projection, photo lambda prints and everyday objects and elements typical of the aesthetic of the community, music, architectural propositions and evidence from the realisation of the projects.

This lively and colourful staging shall present the history of the community and its encounter with contemporary art within the broader physical and social context of a big city. Another part of the project is the virtuoso clarinet player Yorghos Mangas, who will be seen performing in a video made by Maria Papadimitriou.

The Greek participation in the 25th Biennale of Sao Paolo is accompanied by a] catalogue in the form of a book [in Greek, Portuguese and English], as it records the contributions of the first participants with texts, artworks, ideas, proposed buildings and infrastructure projects (see next page).

On the occasion of the opening of the Biennale, the European countries will hold a joint feast-reception at a public building in the city centre on Wednesday, March 20.

23 March – 2 June, 2002

Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion
Fundação Bienal, Portão 3, Parque do Ibirapuera, São Paulo

Organised by:
Ministry of Culture

General Directorate of Cultural Development
Fine Arts Division

Efi Strousa