Maria Papadimitriou’s installation, Why Look at Animals ? AGRIMIKÁ is a shop, a vestige of the past that sells animal hides and leather, transferred from the central Greek city of Volos, where it operates. This presentation of the relationship of humans to animals sparks series of concerns ranging from politics and history to economics and traditions, ethics and aesthetics, fear of the foreign and the incomprehensible, and our profound anthropocentrism that allows us to define ourselves as non-wild, different from all other animals.
The AGRIMIKÁ of Papadimitriou’s concern, along with the shop in Volos, are those animals that tenaciously resist domestication. They coexist with humans in a condition where the roles of prey and predator are constantly switching—but the human hunter usually prevails with the animal prey as a trophy. Nonetheless, these are the animals that feature in most foundational cosmologies and mythologies.
The little shop in Volos is an “objet trouvé” resituated inside the Greek pavilion. The reality of the shop is the expression and documentation of the unique personality of its owner, who has witnessed a great part of the history of modern Greece and kept a critical attitude towards it. The AGRIMIKÁ shop appearing unchanged by time and place, is analogous to the surrounding space of the neoclassical pavilion, also left unaltered.
The pavilion creates the context that charges and reveals this spatial “objet trouvé.”In the “ruined” landscape of the Greek pavilion, the non-domesticate-able animals—the agrimiká—become the vehicle for a contemporary allegory of the dispossesed, and attempts to galvanize our instinctive resistance to the decadence that surrounds us.
Supporters of the Greek representation to date include Onassis Foundation, DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, nctm e l’arte, Outset Greece and Calamos Investments.