#012 - Cleon Peterson
#012 - Cleon Peterson
Destination: Athens, Greece
Date: 19 - 28 February, 2015
About the print:
Dimensions: ± 50 x 70 cm
Colours: 1 colour silkscreen print
Edition: 50 prints, signed and numbered by the artist
(frame not included)
A little word by Cleon Peterson
"I've always wanted to visit Greece. I have studied the philosophy and literature, and last but not least I’ve been enjoying the food. In the '60's one of my favorite artists, Leonard Cohen, lived on one of the islands to find solitude and inspiration. All of these things intrigued me, and I was really looking forward to seeing it myself. Experiencing the landscape, the people, and the tangible presence of an amazing history was a great opportunity. Significant cultures rose and fell here many times over throughout times, all leaving their marks on the city and the people. All of that contrasted with the current political and economic issues, making me feel like we were in the midst of another cultural change.
For my print I've drawn a diagram of social power, playing off an old US political poster from the 20's. The top level houses the politician, the banker and the cleric, these are the people who rule and fool us. Below them is the aristocracy, these are the people who hold the wealth and continue to gain wealth and power at the expense of the classes below them. Next is the military and the police force, these men act as enforcers and keep the lower class in their place. At the bottom live the people like you and I, the exploited, the people at the mercy of the powerful. I thought this social critique mirrored what much of the world is experiencing now through economic inequality. This is what creates much of the conflict we see today.”
Friday, February 20, 2015
Just landed in Athens, Greece on my first night. Looking foreword to a great trip.
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Because of the time difference I woke up at 3AM, Nice time to sit in the dark and think about the bubbles while listening to the mechanical clock tick tock. Guess sometimes one needs a reminder of time passing second by second.
Hard to be an intimidating military presence when you’re wearing a dress and tasseled shoes.
Met up with our new friends Pafsanias and Elizabeth who gave us an extensive walking tour of Athens. Pafsanias is an anthropologist studying graffiti. Here we are below the acropolis in the Plaka neighborhood. Craftsmen from nearby island built and lived in these houses while building the palace for Otto, the first king of Greece.
Here’s the view from the Plaka neighborhood and one of the many Athenian potted cats. In the background you can see Likavitos, the highest point in the city. The sun is out and the light is a warm yellowish hue but its very cold. There was snow on the ground last week. Cant imaging how Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle got by just wearing toga and sandals in the winter.
Sunday, February 22, 2015.
Today I‘ll post the second half of the first days walk. I’ll try not to get to heavy but this stuff is important and reflects the current environment in Athens.
In central Athens you can see Anarchist graffiti everywhere. This is graffiti in its most instrumental form of overt political messaging. In the last 6 years there have been many protests and riots between Anarchist and the police In the streets we passed through.
Heres an example of graffiti written by extreme right wing neo-fascist political party Golden Dawn which has been scratched out by Anarchists. These Ultra right wingers are currently the third largest legitimate political party in Greece. They write messages like: Orthodoxy or death and blood honor. Its said that their party members make up a large percentage of the Greek police force.
This Golden Dawn writing is all over the streets. Heres is an Anarchist sticker over the Golden dawn writing that says “Golden Dawnsters should be imprisoned forever”.
Then we made our way to Messologiou street, the place where 15-year-old Greek student and anarchist Alexis Grigoropoulos was killed by police without provocation. Alexis Grigoropoulos’ killing set off the 2008 December uprising and many more protests and demonstrations all over the world.
Golden Dawn party leaders killed the guy shown here, Anti fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas.
“I’m being tortured” An existential sentiment about the times economy, politics etc.
Anarchists reclaimed a city parking lot to make the Navorinou park an anarchist public space. This space was raided many times by police but still remains a public park.
Monday, February 23, 2015.
Off to the Acropolis.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
The Parthenon, you can find the other half in the British Museum.
A soldier from the Parthenon’s frieze.
Wild cats from another time.
On this site stood the Athens prison. Only 5 or 6 rooms in this prison. This is before the US figured out that privatizing prisons, and having large numbers of tenants, is great business.
On our way down the mountain I found a real version of one of the trees I paint.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015.
Today we flew from Athens to Santorini. Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption created the current geological caldera. A giant lagoon measuring about 7.5 by 4.3 miles wide and surrounded by 980 ft. high, steep cliffs on three sides. Around 15,000 people live on the island. Really beautiful place to spend a few quiet days.
Thursday, February 26, 2015.
Last Santorini Island day.
First I visited the Museum of Prehistoric Thera which features amazing pottery and frescos made on Santorini in the 17th century BC. I think this is a relic from the old Tin Tin comics.
Great frescos, the figures and color reminds me of old Clare Rojas paintings. These were found in the ruins featured later.
Here’s a model of the Akrotiri Ruins where they found a lot of this stuff. It said that only 3% of the city has been excavated at this point.
Then down to the Black beach where it was too cold and harsh to go near that water.
After that the Akrotiri Ruins which dates back to the 4th millennium BC all the people left in the last quarter of the 17th century BC because of severe earthquakes then a volcanic eruption that buried the entire island. The volcano preserved the city and its contents but no one lived on the island for a few hundred years after it erupted.
Then up a hill to the location of an old Castle. Goat Head anyone?
And finally the highest point on the island.
Friday, February 27, 2015.
Sadly this was my last day in Greece. It was a rainy day with thunder and lighting so I decided to take it easy and visit the National Archaeological Museum. This spot is amazing, easily one of the best museums in the world. It’s full of Greek pottery, fresco and sculpture. It’s a big place and there were entire sections I had to miss because they are closed due to austerity.
Austerity in full effect. Wait if people can’t work how can they pay their debts?
Either zeus or Poseidon in bronze
a gold death mask
Then the first modern olympic stadium made entirely out of marble.
I’ve had an amazing time in Greece and I have some great ideas for the upcoming print. Excited to get home and start working on it. Thanks so much Jeroen and thanks to everyone that made my trip here in Greece great.