Xippas Gallery is organizing the first exhibition to be presented at the gallery’s new venue, on 196 Dimokratias Avenue, just off Exit 7 of the Attiki Odos Motorway. The exhibition, titled VaXiNation, is a collaborative project that brings together Xippas Gallery and Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois, Paris. Participating artists include Darren Almond, Mike Bouchet, Richard Jackson, Peter Halley, Paul McCarthy, Vik Muniz, Vera Lutter and Keith Tyson.
The exhibition’s title is an acronym formed by the beginning letters of the galleries’ respective names and the word nation, to suggest the idea of a national entity, while it is also a pun on the word vaccination, recalling recent international debate around the controversial vaccine for the H1N1 flu. Accordingly, the exhibition itself is a visual pun. It is a contemporary allegory that far transcends the bounds of national identity and serves to offset the effect of constructed myths. In his essay on the exhibition, famous art historian Régis Durand notes: “There are two distinct ways, among others, in which people understand death and the life that precedes it. One is through exaggerated action and emotion and the other is through an effort to come to terms with the essence of things. There is no way to immunize ourselves against death in the long run. Vaccination reflects the need to ensure immunity and, consequently, protection from death across both time and space. But though art cannot enforce itself upon life, it certainly does not aim to sketch out the absence of it. Rather, it constantly serves to challenge all manners of certainty and all sense of security. The exhibition itself – as symbolic vaccination –, with its eight artists, presents a sequence of images, a pandemonium of visual readings with which the artists ‘invest’ their particular vision…” The exhibition’s varied ethnic character – participating artists come from different national backgrounds – is an allegory for the notion of inoculation. Conversely, the lack of security in life has its counterpart in art.