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A thousand stories stitched on a piece of cloth, 1821–2021



A thousand stories stitched on a piece of cloth, 1821–2021


29 January–23 April 2021

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The exhibition “A Thousand Stories Stitched on a Piece of Cloth, 1821–2021” includes small stories within a larger one, having as a point of reference the garment, its transformations, its symbolic dimension as well as its political and other uses from the revolutionary era to today. Through indicative examples from different time periods, which are interconnected and reallocated, the exhibition blends the past with the present, the local with the universal as well as “tradition” with “fashion”.
From the fustanella of the revolution fighters and the versions worn in the era of King Otto and by the Evzones, to Mick Jagger’s famous “heretic” variation but also to that of “Iasonas” of Bost’s Medea. From the women of Zalongo to their “motion picture” and other analogues and from the black uniforms of the Sacred Band to those of the Messolongi Brass Band in their image. In a parallel manner, from the Ottoman salvar all the way to the fashion of the bloomers and the spandex, and from the philhellenic fashion à la Bouboulina to the commemorative scarf of Hermès Fashion House, offering alternatives and maybe unexpected narrations. The blend – and sometimes the reversal of time periods – that is attempted by the narration in a time span covering 200 years (1821–2021), as well as the dialogue between modern artists and a “traditional” museum, overturns artfully the linear presentation. The purpose of the exhibition is not to sum up the memory of a thousand events and memorable people, nor to highlight the garment only as a retention code of its wearer. On the contrary, it suggests new ways of reading the 1821 historiography, written and/or stitched with contemporary terms, contemporary vocabulary and syntax on a piece of cloth (πανιών), considering the dual meaning of the word: Either it refers to the “piece of cloth” that, all along, every time it was wrapped, stitched or attached to the human body, turned from a flat, two-dimensional material to a three-dimensional garment and accordingly a “hallmark” for those wearing it, or it is about the attached to the connotation of a piece of cloth as the revolutionary flag, as a symbol of the independent Greek state, then on the rise.

(Edited version of Tania Veliskou’s description of the exhibition from the organiser’s website)

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