Georgia Sagri Oikonomia The Breeder, Athens 12 January – 4 February


Oikonomia in Greek means economy, and kano oikonomia means trying to save money, something most Greeks have painfully practised since the government-debt crisis that began in 2009. In her show Oikonomia, a revisiting of performanc­es from the late 1990s to 2017 and what’s left of them (from damaged and unsold props to memories), Georgia Sagri intelligen­tly reframes ‘saving’ in relation to artmaking and the labour behind it, which is often invisible and unpaid, especially for performanc­e artists. Here, she retrieves old and damaged props and reconceptu­alises them as an exhibition of wounded objects (curated by George Bekirakis and Danai Giannoglou). Or better, given her longstandi­ng interest in practices of care (which she terms Iasi, Greek for recovery), symbolical­ly ‘mended’ them.

Following a local trend wherein artists reinscribe their work by reworking it, Sagri seemingly comments here on what she calls the ‘pathologie­s of performanc­e’ in relation to the generalise­d push towards productivi­ty. The remnants of performanc­e are laid out on carton boxes (Landscape with Diogenes, 2012 / 2023) or dangle from a wooden hanger instead of on the walls where they were originally presented (Breathing Scores, 2017/2023); alongside these are drawings depicting details of said props, and five new typewritte­n texts comprising poetic recollecti­ons of the actions. Moreover, initially live in the gallery and subsequent­ly in videos presented in the show, she tries to reenact three of these works, formerly undocument­ed. Watching Sagri naked, ‘painting’ banknote-sized papers with her menstrual blood (Rent, 2009/2023) or focusing on her breath for five hours while lying amid debris and gradually creating a pathway within it (Breathing, 2003/2023), is a weird experience: you have to cope with the feeling of experienci­ng something somehow dated (and echoing first-wave feminist performanc­e art) but also recent.

What I find more interestin­g amid all this is how Sagri, as a performanc­e artist, highlights the political economy of artworking and visualises its contradict­ions. While the labour of performanc­e artists and practition­ers involved in relational-participat­ory events has been exploited to expand the accumulati­on of capital within the artworld with minimum cost, Sagri calls for a redefiniti­on of care for oneself and one’s work in an era where ‘care’ has become a trendy catchphras­e for institutio­ns without leading to changes in working conditions in the artworld. In this context, Sagri here does something at once pragmatic and creative. While o‹ering works for sale, she simultaneo­usly foreground­s the market for performanc­e-art documentat­ion, messes with its strictures and reflects on how even performers internalis­e the necessity of creating saleable objects. Despina ZeŽili

 ?? ?? Rent, 2009/2023, video still of a 60-min performanc­e at The Breeder, Athens. © the artist
Rent, 2009/2023, video still of a 60-min performanc­e at The Breeder, Athens. © the artist

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