Savvas Savvaidis

Marina’s relation with Paxos began a long time before she was even born. Her parents ‘accidentally’ discovered Corfu and Paxos, while they were looking to find a nice place by the sea, next to Italy. “Although there was no contact with Greece nor did it have any special meaning for my family, my mother fell in love with Paxos. She bought a house straight away, near the seaside” recalls Marina. “She was shown this old ruin in the middle of the island which fascinated her, because of its little secret garden. An old Greek man was still taking care of, although nobody was living in the house anymore. He was so much attached to the garden. It was very lively, it was not abandoned”.

Paxos colours
Paxos colours

Her mother was an interior designer, her father was the owner of an advertising agency, the founder of a small company for old-style fashion and a style columnist for Corriere Della Sera’s Style supplement. Both of them created a family environment for Marina which included many creative nuances.

Nuria Mora, Mural for Facebook Madrid headquarters curated by Josephine Kelliher assistant Lilla Moreno. Photos by Elena Almagro
Nuria Mora, Mural for Facebook Madrid headquarters curated by Josephine Kelliher assistant Lilla Moreno. Photos by Elena Almagro

In conjunction with her love for Paxos, an art-oriented idea on the island came as no surprise. “It was born 3 years ago when I was travelling around Paxos, marvelling at its beauty. I always thought that the greatest artist in the world is Mother Nature. There was a little cave that had some random black and white colours which brought to my mind Mark Rothko’s work” states Marina, who then thought of artist Christo and his large floating installations at the Lago d’ Iseo. “I imagined 10 ‘Christos’ there interacting with this beauty. I didn’t want to make an exhibition in a church or in a school – I wanted to set up an outdoor installation, within the environment”.

"Around About", Talmon Biran Architecture Studio, Photo by Louise Tanguary
“Around About”, Talmon Biran Architecture Studio, Photo by Louise Tanguary

Her idea was praised by a friend of hers, an artist from Berlin, to whom she opened up about this dream she had. “She knew Paxos and she said she knew at least 10 artists who would immediately come to the island and exhibit. I thought this was a crazy idea but she reassured me what a fantastic idea it was, how artists are always looking for places where they can be inspired and not only have to work indoors in a museum or in a gallery, or in an exhibition, but to be free in a place where open space, public art is great”. And this is how the Paxos Contemporary Art Project was born.

"More or Less", Matt Calderwood, 2017
“More or Less”, Matt Calderwood, 2017

“I think it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in my life”.

"Open AC", Clemens Behr, Ragusa/Italy 2019
“Open AC”, Clemens Behr, Ragusa/Italy 2019

Eight cutting-edge contemporary artists were invited in 2018 by the newly funded project to interact with the wild and natural beauty of Paxos and creating a memorable art experience to everyone who witnessed it.
The project will become a Biennale, returning in 2020. “From June till September 2020 there will be 8-10 artists coming again. We need artists who really work with nature, who develop Art movement – they have to play with the wind, with the sound.

Gaios, Paxos island
Gaios, Paxos island

For example, one can play with the wind by doing a sound installation or something that interacts with the wind” states Marina, while adding that the next show has to be even more environmentally and socially conscious. “I want it to be absolutely with respect to nature. The installations have to be something that will able to be recycled, something that stays forever or something that you can take away and use it in a different way. I don’t want to create waste. Furthermore, I would be happy with the participation of more Greek artists, and definitely more women. Last year we had only one Greek artist and only one woman”.

"Iris Croatica", Thiago Mazza, Vukovar/Croatia
“Iris Croatica”, Thiago Mazza, Vukovar/Croatia

But, why Paxos? I ask Marina. “I think it is so unique with so many different beauties. The beaches, going around on a boat, the caves, Daskalia, the olive trees and the countryside, everything is concentrated in one place. There are so many beauties in one spot, on one island with so many different landscapes. I think it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in my life. Also, the relationship I have with the people, it’s like going home for me. Paxos gave me so much these last 40 years and I want to give back to the island”.

"rainbow for party-people", Torsten Mühlbach, Sintra/Portugal 2019
“rainbow for party-people”, Torsten Mühlbach, Sintra/Portugal 2019

This year The artists involved are: Julia Krahn // Matt Calderwood // Talmon Biran Architecture Studio // Nuria Mora // Torsten Mühlbach // Thiago Mazza // Clemens Behr

The artists will intervene with existing structures of natural and architectural sites across the island, which are predominantly open-air.

Blue Caves, Paxos
Blue Caves, Paxos

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