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Form follows function, 200 + 200 decorative and applied arts, 1621–2021



Form follows function, 200 + 200 decorative and applied arts, 1621–2021

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16 May-10 December 2022

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The initial creation and the later reconstruction, the modes of style and finally the use made of heirlooms are all fundamental elements to be appreciated when expounding the story of the traditional arts of Greece. Only thus may one understand how they have come to be symbols of freedom, as well as markers of hierarchy and social prestige. The Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire (1821-1829) was a cataclysmic event which gave birth to a new nation-state: Greece. It was an all-out war fought both on land and at sea, a valiant struggle in the name of freedom, justice, and, as a corollary, modernity. As such, it harnessed the resources of a deep-rooted tradition of liberal thinking and cultural expression with plentiful and significant cultural interactions. The ruins of the war are some of the only remarkable artifacts that have remained, and they exemplify the many centuries of historical turbulence in Europe. These relics are resistant to time and are thus considered today significant works of art that provide us with valuable information concerning daily activities, traditional events, and proof of historical instances. Following the Renaissance, the Baroque, and the Rococo movements, arts were influenced by their style, and travelled to and from Greece to apply to the local needs and tastes. Thus, the exhibition reveals the story of the material culture spanning from 200 years prior to the Greek liberation until its modern-day aftermath. This exhibition endorses the making of artifacts, their use, and their aesthetics and inspires further investigation of contemporary traditional crafts and applied arts. The categories of the exhibition have been chosen after consideration to display functional artifacts from both public and private collections that have not been seen or researched before. Artifacts that the museum has been following from different periods in the history of art through presentations in temporary exhibitions or curatorial studies. Our aim has been to alternate with modern museological displays that will not only respect material culture but prove to become aspirations for new creativity and production. The exhibition and its catalogue were possible after the collective effort of Greek historians, collectors, curators, and staff who diligently endeavoured for the past four years to overcome delays and difficulties due to pandemic.

(Edited description from organiser’s website)

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