Kantharos Gatherings is an artistic concept intertwining with Dexamenes Seaside Hotel’s original story as a century-old wine factory turned into a barefoot luxury resort.
During summer 2019, emerging visual artists are invited to explore Dexamenes as residents, discover the local wineries of Ilia, and stage site-based wine tasting experiences, informed by space, hospitality, the viticulture, the role of a hotel as a community hub as well as a place of transformation. On June 29 and on July 13, resident artists Panos Profitis and Despina Charitonidi presented Spit, a carnal wine tasting performance relating to the body and oscillating between the individual and the collective.
For the overall scenography, the artists get inspired by both the industrial architecture of the hotel and its natural surroundings. Using steel joists, they fabricate slender stands that hint at the reeds one finds abundantly at the beach. This raw, uncovered setting frames the space and deliberately intervenes with the guests’ line of vision.
The wine tasting process is enhanced with handcrafted clay spittoons, each of whom is different than the other, yet imagined as part of a coherent whole. These spittoons carry figurative and abstract forms, migrated from an expanded iconography relating to wine, the primitive past, the organic world, and the industrial heritage. These other-worldly receptacles solemnize the trivial, sometimes embarrassing, action of spitting or dumping the wine.
Throughout the performance, Panos Profitis and Despina Charitonidi use their bodies either as a unity or in a binary, complementary way. Their movements, anchored in stillness, balance or endurance, and complimented by GHONE’s soundscapes, form delicate, sometimes playful, tableaux-vivants set against the metal carapace of the hotel’s signature tanks.
The flux of the event goes full circle with the servers, going in and out of the tank, wearing laser-cut, metal green costumes that resemble to the exoskeleton of a beetle, which was the bug that the ancient wine cup kantharos borrows its name from. Along with the wine bottles, the servers bear objects with loose associations to the four wine labels served from Brintziki, Mercouri, Stavropoulos and Markogianni Estates.
In the end, togetherness is celebrated. What once used to be one’s own, is collected and fused, in order to become part of a larger, structural whole, where wine, water and body fluids unite. What was excreted by the body (spit), or by one’s glass (wine), becomes component of a communal fountain/body.
Images @James Gabriel Martin
Artists @Panos Profitis, Despina Charitonidi, Paky Vlassopoulou
Curator @Eleni Tranouli