10 New Museum Triennial Artists in 10 Days: Manolis D. Lemos
GARAGE's third pick from the New Museum's landmark periodic show is a young Greek artist whose recent work in video reflects on turbulent times in his homeland.
Manolis D. Lemos, dusk and dawn look just the same (riot tourism), 2017 (still). Courtesy of the artist and CAN Christina Androulidaki Gallery, Athens
Since Younger than Jesus, its 2009 first installment, the New Museum Triennial has been a key date on the New York art-world calendar. As the city’s only recurring show devoted to international emerging artists, it provides an indispensable first look at the people and practices who will help define the field in years to come. 2018’s event, subtitled Songs for Sabotage, gathers thirty artists and collectives linked by their interest in disrupting the hierarchies of propaganda, power, control that shape our lives and cultures.
Continuing daily throughout this week and next, GARAGE introduces ten Triennial artists to watch.
A never-ending dream sequence opens Songs for Sabotage. Produced by artist Manolis D. Lemos (born 1989 in Athens, Greece; based in Athens, Greece), a slow-motion video titled dusk and dawn look just the same (riot tourism) pictures a mob running towards Athens' Omonia Square, a commercial district, tourist destination, and the site of the city's recent anti-austerity protests in Athens. A haunting Greek rebetiko by Julien Perez plays in the background while figures in spray-painted raincoats that collectively form a horizon line scatter across the street. “It’s one of the most densely referenced works I’ve ever made,” Lemos told GARAGE.
Lemos’s oeuvre runs the gamut from collage, to painting, to sculptural installation, but for the past couple of years he’s been working with video, consistently and deftly using motifs of rising and falling, future and past. The results have landed him shows at the Serpentine in London and the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens.
Shot on an early Sunday morning with 24 performers, dusk and dawn is a poetic reminder that opposing political movements can start to feel indistinguishable in the face of conflict. “It’s about dreaming, and about quitting one’s dreams…but also about Athens and Greece, where prosperity somehow evaporated.” It sounds dark, but Lemos maintains that the work has a positive edge. “I think there is a vital energy to this work that is optimistic in itself.”
2018 Triennial: Songs for Sabotage is on view at the New Museum, New York, from February 13 through May 27.