“The Equilibrists” is a project organized by the New Museum, New York and the DESTE Foundation in collaboration with the Benaki Museum, Athens, on the occasion of DESTE's 33rd anniversary.
This project continues the DESTE Foundation's history of supporting talented emerging Greek artists. On the occasion of its anniversary, rather than focusing on its past, the Foundation is looking forward with a focus on the future of young art in Greece.
“The Equilibrists” brings together work by a new generation of young Greek and Cypriot artists working in Athens and abroad. The artists were selected by the New Museum curators, Gary Carrion-Murayari and Helga Christoffersen, drawing on their own research and the recommendations of a team of more than 20 advisors made up of curators, artists, and writers in Greece, and following trips to Athens, Thessaloniki, Cyprus, London, and Berlin.
The 33 artists and collaborations in the exhibition have adopted radically diverse approaches towards reflecting and engaging with the world around them. Working across painting, sculpture, drawing, film & video, and performance, the artists in “The Equilibrists” capture the fragility of the present moment through a shared approach to materiality. Their work touches upon themes as varied as historical memory, shifting notions of cultural identity, the politics of architecture and infrastructure, and the surfaces and flows of the digital realm.
This group of artists, ranging from their mid-20s to mid-30s, has emerged amidst a climate of political and economic instability, part of an international ‘young precariat,’ whose challenges have only increased in the past decade. Instead of being paralyzed by these circumstances, these young creators have responded with a spirit of improvisation and cooperation.
The exhibition also reflects the role of these artists in sustaining and invigorating the artistic community through artist run spaces, residencies, and other platforms which continue to gain widespread international attention.
“The Equilibrists” is in keeping with the spirit of the ongoing DESTE Prize which has honored a promising young Greek artist biannually since 1999. It also reflects one of the fundamental aims of the Benaki Museum, which as a historical museum, regularly seeks to bridge the past with the emerging present. Finally, this project also continues the New Museum’s ongoing commitment to international emerging artists, highlighted by its signature Triennial exhibition which will next take place in 2018.