An illustrated guide to greece

Dimitri Mellos

2005 - Ongoing

Greece

For most people, the idea of Greece evokes either images of sunny beaches and picturesque whitewashed villages, or, more recently, images of people lining outside closed banks or of desperate refugees trying to cross over to Europe. With this project, my aim has been to problematize and question, but also enrich and expand, the store of visual representations associated with my country of origin in our collective imagination. I attempted to capture an aspect of Greece’s landscape that is very far removed from the typical picture-postcard aesthetic usually associated with the country. I also wanted to evoke what I think of as the often improvised, play-it-by ear nature of the country, the somewhat laissez-faire relation of Greeks to their lived environment, which I believe is quite revealing of the Greek psyche. Often, man-made objects that would seem to have no place in the midst of nature are found scattered throughout the landscape. I think there is something deeply sad and surreal and sometimes even almost cruel (but at other times very tender) about these traces of human presence in the middle of nowhere. They are humble monuments to the multiple and often implicit layers of interconnection between people and their environment. Odd objects or structures that ostensibly seem completely out of place in the landscape can be revealed, on closer scrutiny, to also suggest a very touching appropriation of, and connection with, the ‘common’ space shared by all.

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