The exhibition HERE/QUEER invites five queer artists to explore the queer experience and identity, the need for inclusivity and representation and the challenges of eteronormativity. Ferocious Urbanites met with the curator of the exhibition, Socrates Stamatatos and the founder of HGW STD, Ilias - Aphrodite HGW for a quick chat before the opening of the exhibition on Friday, the 4th of November.
F.U.: HERE/QUEER is a group show of five participating artists exploring the contemporary approach of the queer experience and identity through a variety of media. Could you tell us a bit more about the selection of the artists and what we are going to see at the exhibition?
Socrates: Our participating artists explore their queer experience through a plethora of artistic media, varying from video performances, multimedia installations, and poetry, to name a few. This patchwork of creative practices fills the contemporary need for a transdisciplinary approach towards art. This plays an integral part of my curatorial point of view, as I consider it a tool for a participatory and experiential dialogue between the artists and the audience.
F.U.: How important is the local factor when approaching the queer ideology?
Socrates: Although there are queer subjects all around the globe, each queer community is influenced by the various social structures and political dynamics of the local framework it exists. Marginalized communities have historically helped for the better understanding of society as a whole. For that reason, it is very significant that they’re given a platform. The Athenian Queer art scene is currently blossoming and has the chance to become a sturdy pillar for social impact.
F.U.: The newly founded art space HGW STD is also accessible to people with disabilities. We definitely see more and more venues being built with the appropriate facilities and equipment in the latest years. Can you tell us a bit more about your vision that led to this infrastructure?
Ilias HGW/Aphrodite: My vision for an accessible art space came from the general lack of accessibility within the Athenian urban fabric. Opting for accessible art spaces within our city, we wish not only to establish the inclusion of people with disabilities, but we also push further to motivate the state to do the same.
F.U.: How important is the inclusion of people in the queer experience and how important is for the queer community to be included in all aspects of the contemporary social reality?
Ilias HGW/ Aphrodite: As a queer person trying to explore myself and my art seven years ago, I faced huge obstacles both by society itself but also by the art scene. I had to face, except of homophobia, elitism, gatekeeping, nepotism, and cliques, people who were looking down on me, who considered me and my art as “lesser”. Therefore, the inclusion that is gradually happening is helping people like me to be accepted easier as equal.
F.U.: The exhibition HERE/QUEER follows the very successful project “Queerupting the youth” that took place in 2021 in Athens. Could you tell us how this exhibition is linked with its first chapter and what we could potentially expect in the future?
Socrates: I do consider both projects independent from one another. They both have Queer as their main theme though. Queer is a big part of my identity, and I will prioritize it thematically in my curatorial practice, till the point where queer artists will have an equitable access to arts as non-queer artists do!
Ilias HGW/Aphrodite: From the HGW std. point of view, both projects signify a beginning. Queerupting was the first exhibition we ever produced and Here/Queer is the first exhibition in our “forever home”. I also want to mention how really blessed I feel to be sharing these beginnings with the incredibly talented Socrates Stamatatos. The goal is to continue to produce and/or host events that open discussions and bring people together to entertain, educate and heal.
Thank you both very much :)
Mauromichali 138 & Komninon, 114 72 Athens
Socrates X Sifudindan
Curated by: Socrates Stamatatos
Here/Queer: The Party
04/11 DJ set by: Philip Paul
Communication sponsor: Movement Radio
*HGW STD. is accessible to people with disabilities