A year ago, Lindsay Lohan embarked on a joint venture in Athens; LOHAN, a new nightclub in the heart of the Athenian party scene in Gazi. Lindsay’s role in the club was puzzling—her newfound presence in the Greek nightlife market was tinged with mystery, and rumours started to circulate. Lohan’s interview only perpetuated the mystery further; she expressed how, in the light of the refugee crisis, xenophobia, and the country’s debt, LOHAN was her gift to Greece. Marketed as a nightclub for all, the appeal drew on the promise of a quasi-spiritual experience; a place for having fun, a way to ‘take bad situations and make it good’. Lohan heralded herself as the goddess of Athenian night life, elevating herself, and the clubbers, through a sanctified premium dance experience. Through the prism of Lindsay Lohan and her namesake club, the exhibition draws links between ancient mythology, celebrity and the symbolism of the club experience in the context of modern day Athens.
Orestis Lazouras, in collaboration with Isabelle Cook, designed a fashion collection using Lindsay Lohan as a muse. The pieces, displayed or stretched across steel structures, explore the ways in which we all engage in self-design, utilising surface appearance as a mode of communicating our shifting identity. By making a parallel between identity and trends, Lazouras and Cook create a moment of disclosure, where the trend-led transformation is revealed to be hollow and unstable. Where sculpture is explored through styling, appearances are intentionally deceptive, letting the design surface crack open to offer a view of its unbridled underbelly.
Amalia Vekri has made sculptures that place readymade souvenirs on top of discarded high-end alcoholic bottles. Through mythological references, the sculptures address lust and sex in the context of the club. As the party progresses, beauty and vanity crumble, collapsing into a depraved whirl of dalliance and revelry. The works also explore how mass production of celebrity merchandise simultaneously cheapens and heightens the status of the star. Much like gossip, celebrity is elevated through reproduction. However, reproduction and gossip are ultimately unsubstantial, widening the gap between the real and the fake.
Marina Xenofontos constructed a functional and collaborative DJ booth. The DJ booth alludes to the club, but the music plays autonomously, without a DJ being present. If the DJ, often elevated to divine status, is in control of the clubbers, tapping into emotions and dictating movement, the lack of the DJ in the gallery space leaves us consciously unguided. Within this void, the music and lights become the organising mediums. The result can be both freeing and uncomfortable. The democratic combination of soundtracks, contributed by a range of artists, allows for a diversified preaching sermon but the lack of a guiding figure challenges our need for a leader. In losing ourselves in clubbing, we revert back to more primal and less self-conscious state, dictated by action rather than language or logic.
Maria Toumazou explores different ways of distributing information, drawing parallels between politics and consumerism. Found architectural windows are obstructed in favour of altered manufactured frames, replacing outside views with an imagined campaign. The object that is meant for looking out is corrupted by forcing an image that looks in, combining disparate references that are bridged by mainstream media. By reversing the nature of these structures, Toumazou negotiates potentialities through process. The partitions also toy with our preconceptions about the space through practical objects. Toumazou re-evaluates the way in which we experience the exhibition and the gallery, exploring how the partitions stir curiousity and anxiety about what is obscured. Much like identity, place is portrayed as self-conscious and constructed, relying on concealing as much as showing to create an image of itself.
Dylan Spencer-Davidson's video work was filmed inside LOHAN on a busy Friday night in Athens. Spencer-Davidson worked with dancer Christina Vassiliou to create a performance which they staged amongst unknowing clubbers. The work looks at the contradictions between the Lohan brand and the hyper-controlled environment of a mega-club. Immortalised through her roles in Mean Girls, Freaky Friday and The Parent Trap, Lohan-as-brand remains eternally teenage, sitting uncomfortably between adulthood and childhood, struggling to negotiate personal boundaries and societal expectations. Alternating erratically between a rebellious IDGAF attitude and apologetic remorse, Lohan's trademark roles spill out into reality through court appearances and tabloid media stories. Spencer-Davidson's video reflects on the Lohan brand's multiple layers of performativity, reflecting on the power dynamics within contemporary, mediated identity production.
Anastasia Pavlou published a sensory book, exploring the myths of Lohan through texture and image. Stripping the myth of language and a linear timeline, we are urged to reconsider the way in which we engage with myths and the celebrity. The book is concerned with the outdated idea of the star as untouchable. Both physically and metaphorically, social media and reality TV has made celebrities more graspable to the public. The book is an alternate dimension existing in parallel to LOHANS. It has the same atmosphere and infrastructure as the club, but is obscured by a pervasive fragmentation. Through the book, the ability to engage with the physical and tangible celebrity is emphasised. The tangibility of the myth is explored literally, where the one-off publication is made up of features that don’t translate into digital reproduction, emphasising the newfound physical proximity of celebrity.
Dimitris Tsouanatos’ illustrative collage works are taken from After Before Thoughts, a book from 1989-99. Acting as triggers, the cult magazine-sourced images are combined to create narrative, underscored with titles that function as captions to each assemblage. Alongside his art practice, Tsouanatos has run Remember fashion store in Athens since the 80s, using the store to push experimental fashion ideas. The unique space, far from the mass fashion standards, has been visited by numerous music icons, wanting to buy their outfits for concerts or films. Its clients are testimony to Tsouanatos’ understanding of curating our image, and his store remains a location where the buyer can extend his role as artist.
Lindsay Lohan: The Myth of the Premium Dance Experience
Opening: Wednesday, November 22nd
On until Sunday, December 17th
Contributed tracks: Dimitris Papadatos - Rihanna - Diamonds (Jay Glass Dubs Hyperthymestic Version), Kim Shish - Foreign Love, Horse Follows Darkness - Casual Friday, Dylan Spencer-Davidson - AUTOMONOLOGORRHEA
After party performances and music by: Yorgia Karidi, Orestis Lazouras (Kim Shisha), Dylan Spencer-Davidson, Amalia Vekri
Hot Wheels Projects
Patision (28is Oktovriou) 41 Athens 10433 Greece