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HANDMADE: On the Social Dimensions of Craft
04.08 —  25.09.2022 | Art Space Pythagorion

The Schwarz Foundation presents the group exhibition HANDMADE: On the social dimensions of handicraft at Art Space Pythagorion in Samos, curated by Katerina Gregou.

Participating Artists: Nikos Alexiou, Bertille Bak, Silvina Der Meguerditchian, Maria Louizou, Jennifer Nelson, Natalia Manta,
Eleni Mylonas, Maria Varela, Sphinxes
Curator: Katerina Gregos

HANDMADE: On the Social Dimensions of Craft
Text by Katerina Gregos
In recent years there has been an upsurge and a renewed interest in craft-based or hand-crafted work in the contemporary art field. The term “craft” refers to processes, actions, techniques, and forms of creativity usually performed manually or with the use of manually operated apparatus. With the advent of the industrial revolution, the pressure for efficiency, and low-cost mass production, craft gradually became marginalized and in some cases, it has disappeared altogether.


But many artists are returning to hand-crafted practices, to the tangible and to the haptic; one reason is perhaps the increasing pervasiveness of digital culture, the increasing dominance of the immaterial in contemporary life, and the marginalization of the tangible and the haptic. The other may be that in many countries,  craft was primarily associated with women, and the working class, as well as with nonwhite people – i.e. marginalized groups who were excluded from the domain of ‘high’ art and orthodox or dominant art historical narratives. Today, the art-craft opposition is also being challenged because of this underlying power dynamic, which dictated what was valued and what not. This, in many ways, explains the return of craftwork, which was once an integral part of artistic practice in any case.
However, whilst much of the current craft-based practices are focused on the materiality, the form of the handcraft in question, or the exploration of tradition, this exhibition will focus on craft-based work that has an underlying social and political dimension, and will examine the social and political economies and contexts, as well as the relational networks that lie at the core of craft-based practices and traditions. In the work of the participating artists, the practice of hand-crafting becomes an integral part of collective empowerment, agency, the sharing of knowledge, the preservation or re-writing of history, and finally a buffer against historical amnesia. Craft-based contemporary artistic practices thus become an important component in reconsidering the politics of materiality, identity, labour and social exchange as well as embodying histories in its materials.
Handmade will include both Greek as well as international artists, and will also feature a selection of works from the collection of EMST | The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens, sparking a new synergy between the two institutions.


The exhibition is accompanied by the educational programme HANDMADE / Tell a storydesigned and implemented by the artist and curator of educational programmes for contemporary art Katerina Zacharopoulou. More information and participation procedure for students, teachers and organized groups will be announced (Duration: September – October 2022)

Collaboration between the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (ΕΜΣΤ) and the Schwarz Foundation
More info: Art Space Pythagorio