Alpine Altar
Mixed-Media, Video Installation;  Commons;  

The artist constructs (her own) museum of collective desires: Alpine Altar, a particular act of intercultural translation, cohabitation of traditional Greek altar and the local context of the Enns valley. Built of (Grimming) stone, Papadimitriou’s altar is a shrine of vows, collected by people and related to the tradition of the Sheep Festival, celebrated each year in the local community of Liezen. The altar operates as an expression of peoples’ beliefs, a projection of their dreams and fantasies, a loudspeaker of their most intimate daring thoughts and hopes for the future. It is a site of redemption, a shelter of hope, a mirror of people’s desire, a meeting point of the unspoken and hidden [...] an uttermost – collective – expression of genius loci... Bridging pagan and sacred, fetishistic and religious, natural and supernatural powers, Papadimitriou challenges the eigensinn-like mentality of the Enns Valley’s local population. Her altar is a monument to many mythologies, celebrating God-made and man-made relics and talismans. Fabricated by the people, miniature toys of sheep, offered on the sacred surface of an ancient altar, contribute to Papadimitriou’s self-made ritual: they are vows, symbols of sacrifice and sincere expressions [...]. Papadimitriou’s aim is to pay tribute to (the possibility of) the translocal, […] towards a wider polyphonic understanding of culture and tradition.

Adam Budak

Excerpts from “Maria Papadimitriou “Alpine Altar” or rituals of everyday,” in exh. cat. Fabricators of the World: Scenarios of Self-Will, pp. 18-19.