Οίστρος – il viaggio dell’estro

Bologna, 11 March – 3 April 2016
Dynamo – La Velostazione di Bologna

 

The exhibition told the story of a Greek word that travelled to Italy a long time ago. Οίστρος [ístros] in Greek and estro in Italian, the artworks explored its multiple meanings: artistic inspiration, mammalian ovulation and the gadfly.

The word symbolises the shared histories and linguistic exchange that has taken place over the centuries between the two countries, connecting the past to the present.

Οίστρος – il viaggio dell’estro took place in Bologna in Spring 2016 and was complemented by a range of activities and side events to promote a deeper understanding of the work. Over the three weeks, over 2000 people visited the exhibition, some of them coming all the way from Greece. The work was exhibited in underground tunnels that served as WWII air-raid shelters under Bologna’s Montagnola park. The tunnels are part of the premises of Dynamo – La Velostazione di Bologna, a multifunctional space centered around ecological mobility.

 

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A journey can be described as a passage
A journey can be descriptive of a process

For AFI Collective, the process of making is very important. Each artist, using multiple techniques and materials for their installations, made artwork which was reflective of a journey, be it a passage or a process. For some, the journey of Oistros was the passage of the migrants to a place of refuge, for others it was their creative journey, discovering new ways to work with their materials. Every artist had a distinct way to interpret the word Οίστρος (Oistros).

Its three meanings set in motion the artists’ creative process. The oldest use of the word is that of the gadfly, the insect that bothers beasts and animals. There exists a figurative meaning, that of a sudden inspiration, which reflects the movement of a horse that has been stung. The organic connotation of the term indicates the time of ovulation and subsequent sexual arousal in female mammals.

The installations were site specific, yet the artists themselves had never physically visited the space before the exhibition. Fortunately, the tunnels of Dynamo la Velostazione di Bologna with their striking arches and faded brickwork proved to be the perfect environment to tell the story of Oistros.

Οίστρος – il viaggio dell’estro was founded on the idea of fostering cultural interchange between Greece and Italy. The project was conceived in two parts: an exhibition in Bologna based on the word oistros (it: estro) and its different meanings that travelled from Greece to Italy; and a second exhibition in Athens based on passatempo (gr: pasatémbos), which journeyed the other way around.

For more details on the exhibition and the artists, download the exhibition leaflet in English or in Italian.

During their stay in Bologna, AFI Collective artists participated in meetings with local artists and artisans focused on the exchange of techniques and ideas. From these meetings, four Italian artists were chosen to join AFI collective in the next project Pasatémbos. Pasatémbos – time in a shell (2017-2018) is a transnational and transgenerational project based on the year long collaboration between three groups of artists: AFI Collective, four Italian artists and seven young Greek artists (selected through an open call in Summer 2017).

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  • Oistors Fragile Boats, Yiannis Papadopoulos