Summer of Love
Summer of Love || August 4 – October 15 | Opening: 3 August 2017
Summer of Love, the 2017 exhibition at Art Space Pythagorion, borrows its title from the sociocultural phenomenon that took place fifty years ago in the summer of 1967. The exhibition features work newly commissioned as well as existing work by nine artists and one collective from 6 countries: MELANIE BONAJO (NL, 1978) / JOHAN GRIMONPREZ (BE, 1962) / INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL HISTORY (Est. 1935, NL) / TOMOMI ITAKURA (US, 1976) / MIKHAIL KARIKIS (GR, 1976) / NICOLAS KOZAKIS & RAOUL VANEIGEM (BE/GR, 1967 & BE, 1934) / MARKO MÄETAMM (EE, 1965) / MARGE MONKO (ΕE, 1976) / URIEL ORLOW (CH, 1976)
While in Europe the year 1968 might have more of a legendary status due to the student uprisings in Paris and the Prague Spring, 1967 was in many ways a more significant year in terms of geopolitical, cultural and intellectual developments.The exhibition Summer of Love reflects on this seminal year on its fiftieth anniversary, drawing attention to an era when both the concept of politics and love possessed a real sense of urgency. The ‘Summer of Love’ was one of the many expressions of the counterculture of the 1960s and early 1970s. The exhibition Summer of Love will reflect on the unlikely liaison of love and politics, connecting the summer of 1967 to the world in 2017, where the idea of love in intellectual and political circles is dismissed as simplistic and sentimental. Actually, love is one of the most potent and complex forces of human life. Perhaps the most interesting recent ideas advocating a different understanding of love come from literary theorist and political philosopher Michael Hardt (b. 1960) who advocates a political idea of love.4 Hardt argues that love has to be expanded beyond the limits of the couple, the nuclear family and the psychoanalytic limits of coupling as a force that also contributes to the constitution of community. He credits love for the ‘collective transformation’ that one experiences in certain kinds of political action. Hardt advocates a form of love that does not originate in a love based on identification with someone or something that is the same as you/us, but a love ‘that functions through the play of differences, rather than the insistence on the same’. The exhibition Summer of Love draws on these ideas and weaves a web of cultural and historic reference points in order to link the ideas of fifty years ago to the present European crisis, and perhaps to also inspire us to imagine a way out of the current political impasse. It is an opportune moment to do this
The exhibition will feature the international premiere of the tetralogy of videos by Greek artist Nicolas Kozakis together with the philosopher Raoul Vaneigem , who look at Greece to re-consider contemporary Western values. The exhibition will also feature award-winning filmmaker Johan Grimonprez’ video Every Day Words Disappear (2016) – an interview with Michael Hardt with found footage from Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville (1965). Also included will be Tomomi Itakura’s Untitled (Signs) (2017), a series of signposts, which juxtaposes key concerns of 1967 and those of 2017, indicating how the world has changed in these fifty years. A series of historical posters from the collection of the International Institute of Social History also speaks of the urgent issues of 1967 – from the anti-Vietnam War movement, to civil rights, apartheid and the Palestinian cause. Uriel Orlow’s 2013 work comprising several media, The Short and the Long of It, which has been further developed for this exhibition, relates to the fallout from the 1967 Six-Day War between Israel and neighbouring states. Melanie Bonajo’s film Economy of Love (2015) recalls the radical politics of the 1960s to meditate on issues around sexual liberation and ‘free love’ today. There are also several new works, commissioned especially for the exhibition, which reflect on the quinquagenary of 1967. Mikhail Karikis has created an environment which functions as a kind of musical and reading lounge featuring iconic vinyl records from 1967, as well as books and essays by influential thinkers writing on love as a political event and a force with revolutionary potential. The records and books can be perused in a colorful sculptural environment, which also functions as a communal seating area. Marko Mäetamm has created a series of images using texts from posters and banners used in protests and demonstrations in 2017, and presents them using visual aesthetics of the ‘Summer of Love’ posters from 1967, making a link between ideas of community and commonality then and now, and activating cultural memory. Finally, Marge Monko’s new wallpaper installation for the exhibition, comprised of photographs and diagrams, looks into the role the contraceptive pill played in women’s sexual liberation and the ‘free love’ movement.