BENAKI MUSEUM, PIREOS ST. 12.6.2015-11.10.2015

Opening: June 11, 2015
Exhibition Duration: June 12 – October 11, 2015

As a preamble to the open-call based program, FAMILY BUSINESS presents Dirty Linen, an exhibition organized by Myriam Ben Salah, curator of Special Projects and Cultural Programs at the Palais de Tokyo and an original member of the Family Business team. The exhibition will open at the Benaki Museum, Pireos St. on June 11, 2015 and will be on view  through October 13, 2015.

Constructed as a small-scale survey delving into issues of shame and scandal, Dirty Linen examines the concept of the family as an intricate and weird entanglement of individuals and relationships, encompassing actual familial ties and delusion of grandeur as well as broader national and international relationships made increasingly apparent during the current global financial crisis.

Installed at the fringes of the Benaki Museum, Pireos St. between the exhibition rooms and the street, Dirty Linen spreads out in a scale model domestic space, a replica of the irregularly built houses characteristic of the suburbs of Athens. The house becomes home to some fifteen (mostly Greek) artists and to their families as, a certain number of works, is “family made”. Some emerging young figures cheerfully mingle with key and under-recognized artists from earlier generations, creating an extended unwitting family held together by a precarious sense of equilibrium and a whole pile of unspoken obsessions, shameful aspirations and scandalous memories.

In Greece, it seems everything comes back to family drama. From Antiquity incest stories to soap opera overacted messes and fusses, the basic social unit is a polarized catalyzer of both love and hate, pride and shame, balance and instability. The artists featured in the show offer a multi-layered representation of this ambivalent nucleus and use it as a lens to examine an oscillating society still struggling with its past and increasingly uncertain about its future. Taking root in the intimacy of artists through personal memories (Raed Yassin, Aggeliki Bozou), found documents (Ioannis Koliopoulos, Eftihis Patsourakis), and miscellaneous stereotypical imagery (Dimitris Antonitsis), the exhibition points out that family matters are never simply personal, but inevitably embrace larger issues such as the western principle of overachievement, the power of gender stereotypes (Elizabeth Jaeger) or the ever transforming marital roles (Konstantinos Ladianos). The display develops an elusive domestic narrative and goes through universal yet very private mementos that document sometimes big but mostly small and mundane instances of family togetherness at the fringes of reality and fantasy.

Airing its ‘dirty linens’ in public, the exhibition attempts to ward off the evil eye from the ‘Family’ house so that it can start afresh with the ‘Business’ at hand.

Dirty Linen is accompanied by a small fanzine produced by the Athens Zine Bibliothèque. It is an extension of the show featuring contributions from the artists exhibited as well as found dirty documents.


Organized by the DESTE Foundation in collaboration with the Benaki Museum

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Permanent Communication Sponsors of the Benaki Museum:
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  • Aggeliki Bozou
  • Vlassis Caniaris
  • Christodoulos Panayiotou
  • Eftihis Patsourakis
CURATED BY: Myriam Ben Salah