Artinos, Apostolis. Catalogue Essay from "ex-pats". MOMus-Museum Alex Mylona, 2017

In Eleni Mylonas' case there exist two kinds of nostalgia. Nostalgia of Oneself and nostalgia for the Other. A returning Ulysses ready to depart once again. A subject exposed to his openness, to the odyssey of his wanderings to even more remote shores to the indefinability of the unknown. A movement which strains its subject, the hovering during his return. That winged foot of Hermes, a sculpture by Eleni Mylonas which introduces the meaning of the exhibition. The wing-sandaled Hermes, the god of transfers, of journeys, of populations in motion, a strider of borders. A sculpture made of stone annotating the particular human perpetual motion as well as the transient traces of his wandering. But in this case we are not facing God's ethereal footprint with its light trace, as he tiptoes in earth, but a heavy, rough foot print which at the same time testifies the heavy ecologic impression of the artist's perpetual moves. 

In another work in the exhibit belonging to Eleni Mylonas, Ave Maria, a three channel video installation reveals accurately the repetitious movement in the places of nostalgia. The at-home which is no longer a rooting, but a re-habitation, a metastatic present-tense which continuously accomplishes itself. In that duration there is no time or space for melancholy, although its mnemonics always hang-around. The foreign place becomes familiar; it becomes the point of return. A home in every land. A cosmopolitan notion which disposes the idea of the place of origin in its inhibited attestations and openings. The subject of that rousing present the re-born each time and dedicates itself to its new rooting, its new linguistic-expression. In Ave Maria there are resplendencies of both world-stages. On one hand there is the island of Aegina, Mylonas' refuse while in Greece, and on the other hand New York which is her place of residence and work. The whole video-projection consists of a succession of images of those impossible residencies, of places that cannot accommodate us. What it surely brings up is the time consumed from one place to the other. The sea of Aegina from the head of a ship, the seagulls, followed by scenes capturing the neurotic rhythms of the New York subway. Then Aegina again on a rainy day, the humidity of memories, interjected by snapshots of news covering bombings in Iraq, a burning Ku Klux Klan cross and a waterside at night in its mirage, then back to the New York subway where the strings of a Chinese immigrant perform the Ave Maria and where in another corner the same song is sung, this time by a young Italian tenor followed by a scene of an animal carcass hit by waves in the shore, in an isolated Aegina beach just a few days before the outbreak of the war in Iraq, the grim prelude to a tragedy that was to become a tragedy of unprecedented universal dimensions, again the sea, always the sea, the odyssey of all those images. 

Eleni Mylonas' Ave Maria consists of a sequence of realities that although very different from each other manage to form a coherent unit by drawing on human experience. A series of contradictions that expose the differences in our world but at the same time form its collective memory. The contemporary environment of globalization, with this media aesthetics and its cultural hegemony, establishes the sharing of a de-territorialized expectation. The subject of globalization, of the domination of the Web and its cultural relativism, does not refer to genealogical and geographical origins, but to a potentially transcendent exit from any difference, from any exception. But the homeland, the land of the mother-tongue, that shore of Aegina, will continue to always bear the parasite of a melancholic flash-back. Instants of an unproductive time which is not consumed in the place of oneself but in the ground of our ecstatic-condition, on the threshold of our exit, on the exact time of our departure, from the first minutes on. 

The birthplace remains the place of my very own death. That small cemetery, in the midst of a verdant olive grove, whose murmur attests to the silence of my own people. I belong to where I do not yet belong. To the place where I will be able to (not) return. 

Apostolis Artinos, 2017



three channel video with sound

10:50 minutes

"Ave Maria" and "Hermes' Foot"
rock, old wood trunk, feathers, wood base, digital print

Installation view at "ex-pats" show at MoMUS/Alex Mylona Museum, GR.