Growing Ground

Eleusis 2021 European Capital of Culture – Candidate City hosts the interactive art project “Growing Ground” curated by the artist Maria Ikonomopoulou, to be held from September to November 2016 at the offices of Eleusis 2021 in the Old Railway Station of Eleusis. The art exhibition opens to the public on Sunday October 2nd and lasts until November 15th. The exhibition will be also accompanied by a workshop on sharing of public space in contemporary cities.

Growing Ground is an interactive project that invites people of Eleusis to participate in creating a collective patio in the outdoor space of the Old Railway Station, by giving one of the plants of their own yard. In return, they will be offered a drawing made of lime on the pavement in front of their front door, inspired and especially made for the residents by the artist Maria Ikonomopoulou.

The plants collected will be placed in specially designed pots with the donors’ name and their address of residence. Drawings, similar to those made on the sidewalk in front of each plant-giver, will be also designed in the courtyard of the Old Railway Station, in order to define the collective courtyard.

The project is based on the artist’s personal contact with the Eleusinians and her interest in the city’s history through personal narratives. Concepts such as caring, lending and offering a gift are affected, through creating a place for exchanging views on the public space, as well as the house’s effect in the cohesion of a community and using green areas in modern cities. The title literally refers to a piece of cultivated ground, but also -figuratively speaking- to the ground we can grow between us.

During the project, alongside the exchange of plants and drawings on the pavement, the artist Maria Ikonomopoulou discusses with the city residents, young and old, and records the information, questions and concerns around these concepts in a video to be displayed in the collective patio on Sunday October 2nd at the workshop.

WORKSHOP – Sunday, October 2nd

On this day, three speakers, Wim Oudshoorn (Netherlands), Katerina Drossou (Greece) and Carolien Hoogland (Netherlands), will respectively speak for school gardens and gardening lessons in primary school children in Hague, architecture and social relations based on buildings located in a perimeter around the Old Railway Station and experiencing a life without money, in other words, a time based on the principle of offer and exchange. Α significant part of this workshop constitutes the discussion with the audience after each presentation.

Art Exhibition of Maria Ikonomopoulou at the Old Railway Station

Maria Ikonomopoulou (Kalamata 1961, Dutch citizen since 1985), has carried out many projects in public spaces with the participation of ordinary people in their production, such as “Temporary / Timeless” (Amsterdam 2013) and “Water Speaking” (Wilnis 2009).

Since 2005, she works on the “Growing Care” project, based on recordings of urban green areas which individuals take care of in front of their homes and shops. Through these recordings and works created based on this material, she processes the questions that concern her, regarding the sharing of public space in contemporary cities.

At the building of the Old Railway Station of Eleusis, she will present a series of works from the “Growing Care” project, as well as an installation especially made for this area, in cooperation with volunteers from Eleusis.

Learn more about the project, but also discover all the designs drawn in front of each plant-giver’s sidewalk, by clicking here.

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