Zoe Hatziyannaki‘s photographs from ‘Brighter Days’ examine the economic and social catastrophe in Greece through the prism of history and its footprint on the Greek landscape, in particular the remnants of its past glories; temples, statutes and buildings from antiquity.
Like her fellow Greek artist and photographer, Petros Koublis, Hatziyannaki looks to the past to find ways of examining the present, of making sense of the worries and pain that people are enduring by looking at the grandeur of her own history. As she walked through the parks and archaeological sites of Athens with her camera she found herself juxtaposing the symbols of Athenian culture – that have entranced millions of people across the world and are a source of pride and hope to the millions of Greeks who now live on the edge of despair – with the more prosaic reality of economic and societal collapse.
The photographs make for a fascinating and insightful statement on the psychological state of the Greek people as they look to the future and the very real possibility of being forced out of the Euro Zone. Her pictures signalling a moment in history when Greece lies in a state of flux, it’s people looking back while hoping going forward. A period of introspection in which they can reflect on their relationship with Europe and themselves as a people. Here’s what she has to say about her work:
Using photography as a means of psychogeography I am focusing in places that make us feel proud and positive, that give us hope through their beauty, serenity and historical significance. My vision of these landscapes refers to that of old gravures or paintings when Greece was ‘discovered’ by the early Western travellers.
Yet those places do not exist outside the often troubled present in the same way that hopes and aspirations exist within the everyday worries and trivialities. There is therefore an exchange between the momentous and the everyday, the ideal and the trivial, the admirable and the unworthy.
In the statement on her work she includes a quote from Marcel Proust’s, ‘Remembrance of Things Past’:
The places that we have known belong now only to the little world of space on which we map them for our own convenience. None of them was ever more than a thin slice, held between the contiguous impressions that composed our life at that time; remembrance of a particular form is but regret for a particular moment; and houses, roads, avenues are as fugitive, alas, as the years.