It would have been too easy to fill all the holes, whitewash the interiors and create conventional ‘galleries’. Instead we kept the buildings in their raw state and adorned with rich textiles, installations, paintings, ceramics and a range of 2D and 3D works, weaving together a complex tapestry of artworks creating a labyrinth to feed the imagination. *

At a time in our history in which cultural reflection is vital to assist in the evolvement of a changing reality, the inaugural Santorini Biennale of Arts 2012 focuses on the exchange of arts and experiences, whilst pursuing both a regional and international programme of cultural collaboration.

The inaugural Santorini Biennale of Arts exhibitions opened to the public on 1 August, providing visitors a platform for thought as art is curated into the localized realms of the Greek island.

Constructed as a large thematic exhibition, The PAST: History, Time, Memory and Nostalgia relies on various exchanges that examine intrinsic experiences and collective relationships. With works by more than 200 artists, both mid-career and emerging as well as several new commissions, the exhibitions have been configured throughout Santorini to build various scenarios to open a dialogue with the public.

To experience the feel of the Santorini Biennale of Arts exhibitions, one has to traverse the length and breath of the island’s steep and sometimes rugged terrain. The old Town of Pyrgos, where most exhibitions are being held, best represents the spirit and character its curatorial team found on the multiple and varied representations of its theme as well as the strength of tradition, taste of rules and respect for its insular reality that helped us bring diversity into unity. *

The curators of the Biennale made a conscious decision to mix the various mediums from Painting to Industrial Design to create a platform in which the works literally respond to their environment. By merging the mediums and curating within old wineries, traditional Greek houses and Santorinian caves, the collaboration continued with the impression of the PAST combined with the connections made with the works, the curators and the venues.

Given this unique scenario, visitors have the possibility to experience exhibitions with a different approach to the more formal and conventional ways of presenting artwork fused with the island’s ethos. This has generated critical debates concerning producing new forms of collaboration by focusing on creatively building infrastructures that respond to the changing needs of artists, location and new publics.

Built on limited resources with an appeal of enhancing the consciousness of the future, the Santorini Biennale of Arts is determined by a fundamental need to cultivate a spirit of research, experimentation and quality, acting as a catalyst for cultural growth.

The Santorini Biennale exhibitions are FREE and open to the public from 1 August through 30 September 2012.

* Quotes by Curators Tracey Holt-Walken and Tomas Poblete.

Alex Pollard, Doormats, 2012

Andrea Hasler, Skinned Memories, 2012

Tanja Radez, Girls and Boys, 2011/12

Luis Dorado, Untitled Essays 1-4, 2011

John Rainey, Computer Augmented Portrait (Series), 2011

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