The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard) is pleased to present RETROACTIVE, an exhibition of site–specific works by Greek artist Antonis Pittas, who was CCS Bard’s Artist-in-Residence in 2011. This installation builds upon the ongoing dialogue explored in Pittas’ 2010 and 2011 exhibitions, Untitled (this is a historic opportunity for us) at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, and shame on you, at the Annet Gelink Gallery in Amsterdam, where Pittas lives and works.
RETROACTIVE was developed during Pittas’ 2011 residency at CCS Bard in conjunction with discussions and collaborations with CCS Bard students. The work in the exhibition draws from a multi-dimensional series of cues offered by the architecture, institutional memory, and discursive space of CCS Bard and presents a platform for considering collective memory in the public sphere.
Pittas acts as a conduit in the development of his large-scale graphite drawings and sculptural objects, responding to and appropriating the shifting conditions of his physical site and its surrounding socio-political energies. Traces of the Blinky Palermo: Retrospective 1964-1977, exhibition which was previously presented in the CCS Bard Galleries, are reactivated by Pittas to illuminate the artists’ shared engagement with the nonobjective work of the Russian avant-garde.
The shapes used in his work allude to picket signs and graffiti drawn from the Occupy movement, the Arab Spring, and protests in the artist’s hometown of Athens. Such evocative aesthetic and contextual shifts mirror the memes of the current global climate of protest and upheaval. Likewise, texts collected from the public domain and fragments of news stories are promoted from the quotidian to the iconic. Drawn text “Let him go, let him go,” chanted at a recent Oakland demonstration, snakes around the architecture like a paused ticker, toying with the viewer’s perception of time.
The mercurial surface of graphite in Pittas’s precisely rendered graphic and text interventions activates the concrete floor and white gallery walls of CCS Bard’s gallery space. The viewer is invited to tread on the floor drawings, dismantling the work by displacing the residue of the graphite, either as a passive or political gesture.
Antonis Pittas is an artist who creates context-specific spatial installations, which are informed by architecture, art-historical references, the performative aspects of installation art, and its social dynamics. The majority of his projects are developed over a long period of time, and always in relation to a particular site or context. Recent exhibitions include shame on you (2011) at the Annet Gelink Gallery in Amsterdam, The Spring Exhibition (2011) at the Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen, Untitled (this is a historic opportunity for us) (2010) at the the Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven, Every time you pass by (2009) at the SMART Project Space in Amsterdam, and Bargain prices on elephant gun (2008) at the Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre in Athens. Pittas is also an instructor at the Rietveld Academy and the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. For more information on Pittas’ work, please visit his website: http://www.antonispittas.info/
RETROACTIVE , as well as the CCS Bard residency, was made possible through the generous support of The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture (Fonds voor Beelende Kunsten Vormgeving En Bouwkunst).