BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

The Breeder Gallery – Athens, Greece

Breeding New Forms in Athens

Installation view from "SI SEDES NON IS", 2017 at The Breeder Gallery, Athens
Installation view from "SI SEDES NON IS", 2017 at The Breeder Gallery, Athens

The name says it all: in the offbeat neighbourhood of Metaxourgio, The Breeder is cultivating a fertile space for cutting-edge contemporary art to grow. A renovated factory, the gallery was inaugurated in November 2002 with a show by Jim Lambie, after launching an international project magazine in 2000.

The past few years have been a turbulent time to be in the art market in the Greek capital. "After nine years of economic meltdown, Athens' art market is almost destroyed now,” gallerists Stathis Panagoulis and George Vamvakidis say. “Most of the galleries of our generation closed their doors.”

Zoë Paul, ’Solitude and Village’, 2016. Photo: Nikos Koustenis
Zoë Paul, ’Solitude and Village’, 2016. Photo: Nikos Koustenis
Angelo Plessas, ’Extropic Optimisms’, 2016 (installation view)
Angelo Plessas, ’Extropic Optimisms’, 2016 (installation view)

“In this hostile environment it was difficult but we continued to produce big shows to promote our program with clarity, credibility and relevance, and to try for the largest impact in society, to continue to engage supporters, partners and collectors and create fruitful collaborations.

However, this resilient pair are still keeping up their regular residency programme, as well as expanding their sights to beyond the gallery’ walls, looking at collaboration with public swimming pools, parks and schools in the future. In addition, the Breeder still participates in a selection of important art fairs, such as Frieze in London and New York and LISTE in Basel.

Of course, the current art context in Athens has been immeasurably affected by the arrival of documenta 14, bringing a much-needed international art world focus to Athens. “Adam's curatorial approach has both been genius and generous as unveiled in both cities, enabling a dialogue and an intellectual discourse in a very emotionally charged and dramatic time setting,” say Panagoulis and Vamvakidis. But like any visiting art event, it’s not just about the temporary lift that the art scene is given. What’s more important is the knock-on effect it lends to Athens’s art institutions and organisations in the future, say The Breeder’s directors. “All this will seem very little compared to the enormous influence that Documenta 14 will have upon future generations of thinkers and to the artistic production coming from Athens in the next years.

Andreas Lolis, ’Undercurrents’, 2015
Andreas Lolis, ’Undercurrents’, 2015

The current show at The Breeder, “SI SEDES NON IS”, is a case in point. A group exhibition, curated by Milovan Farronato, director and curator of the Fiorucci Art Trust in London, it features both Greek and international artists (Camille Henrot, Karl Holmqvist and Gosha Macuga, among others) and turns the gallery space into an “alchemical squat”. For this show, a neon talisman sits above the entrance to protect against internet malfunctions. Extropic Optimisms by the Greek artist Angelo Plessas comprises a glowing orange eye, surrounded by a red arrow, a green infinity symbol, a purple hand. It’s part of the gallery’s “skin project”, recently established to bring the artwork outside the white cube and into the space of the city. “The owner of the cafe across the street that was never inside the gallery before had some critical comments on the work...and even some ideas for the next project!” the gallerists say. “Suddenly, it was a work that belonged not only in the gallery but also to the community.” With documenta’s effect on the city still to be seen, it’s locally engaged institutions like this that can make the difference.

by Josie Thaddeus-Johns

Josie Thaddeus-Johns is a writer and editor based in Berlin, covering art, music, film and more. She writes for the Guardian, Broadly, Creators Project, and others. She is currently working on her first novel.

All images courtesy The Breeder Gallery, Athens

More Information on Breeder Gallery

Galleries (39)

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Bo Bjerggaard – Copenhagen, Denmark

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Pierre-Yves Caër Gallery – Paris, France

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Blindspot Gallery — Hong Kong, China

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H’art Gallery — Bucharest, Romania

One of Bucharest’s Oldest Private-Run Galleries

LambdaLambda Lambda – Pristina, Kosovo

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Deák Erika Galéria – Budapest, Hungary

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Tim Van Laere Gallery – Antwerp, Belgium

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Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler – Berlin, Germany

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Galerie Fons Welters – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Bosse & Baum – London, United Kingdom

Ambitious perspectives in Peckham

TM51 – Oslo, Norway

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mfc-michèle didier – Paris, France

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V1 Gallery – Copenhagen, Denmark

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Upstream Gallery – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Tackling the Shift Between the Analog and Digital in a Post Internet World

Galerie Forsblom – Helsinki, Finland

Bringing international contemporary art to the Finnish capital

The Journal Gallery – New York, USA

Saving New York from Becoming a Sale-Focused Gallery Wasteland

Peres Projects – Berlin, Germany

Bridging the Gap Between Los Angeles and Berlin

Galeria OMR – Mexico City

Mexico City’s advocate for modern artistic tendencies and international contemporary art

LOYAL – Stockholm, Sweden

A Gallery that Pushes the Dialogue Around Young and International Art in Sweden’s Capital

Chimera-Project — Budapest, Hungary

Post-contemporary interest in aesthetics while eagerly re-constructing and defining traditions

La New Gallery — Madrid, Spain

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Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery – Sydney, Australia

Her uncanny ability to recognize unique Pacific Rim talent

Take Ninagawa Gallery – Tokyo, Japan

Promoting emerging Japanese artists within a cross-generational, international framework

RaebervonStenglin – Zurich, Switzerland

It is much more about concepts, long conversations and long-term commitment

Galerie Emanuel Layr – Vienna, Austria

Finding the right chord among the various artists

Platform China – Beijing/Hongkong, China

This shows how much prejudgment there still is

Fluxia – Milan, Italy

Strive to discover new approaches in contemporary art

Gaudel de Stampa – Paris, France

“Discreet” seems to be the perfect adjective

NON – Istanbul, Turkey

The dawn of an era of collaboration

Vermelho – São Paulo, Brazil

There were no galleries open to a new generation of artists working in a nontraditional way

Eleven Rivington – New York, USA

Newfound talent and rediscovers international artists for a new audience

Ibid. – London, Great Britain

Rather than listing names