INTERVIEW: CHRISTINA ANDROULIDAKI

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CHRISTINA ANDROULIDAKI

GALLERY OWNER (CAN ART GALLERY), CURATOR

Interview Oben Budak

Photographer Nicholas Mastoras/Other Studio

What is your story? Tell us about yourself…

Before I begin to tell my story I would like to thank my mother who gave me the freedom to choose freely what I will do with my life, having an absolute faith that success comes hand in hand with hard work, love, passion and dedication to what you do, whatever the discipline may be. As a result, from a very young age I became passionate with the history of art and many years later, following my studies at the Courtauld Institute in London, endless internships, interesting jobs, boring jobs, good and bad jobs, she supported my decision -of what many considered crazy at the time- to start my own business, a contemporary art gallery in Athens at the midst of the financial crisis in Greece. 

How did Can Gallery emerge? 

CAN Gallery is the birth-child of this craziness. It’s name is inspired by Obama’s message “Yes we CAN” and 7 years down the line, I am so happy I am now in the privileged position to be one of the most established spaces that promotes contemporary art and thought in the city.

How do your clients find you, or how do you find them?

All relationships, especially business relationships are about trust. We have a very active programme of exhibitions all year round that have a very good following and then we also focus on developing and maintaining our present relationships with clients. Our exhibitions run all year round and anyone can visit. We encourage people to visit our shows that are free of charge and we give a tour to anyone who has some time and wants to know more about the artist and the exhibits. My philosophy is that the human eye and mind are muscles like any other in the human body. The more you train them the better they work.

What’s the most freeing piece of advice you’ve had on your creative path?

The most liberating piece of advice I ever took was to take my work seriously but never take myself seriously and to not take what happens either to myself or to my work, again, too seriously. 

What experiences within your career have been most rewarding for you?

When the work of a young or emerging artist I represent is bought by an institutional or a large private collection, that is always a very rewarding moment. That makes me feel that our work has been appreciated. Also recently, I was a portfolio reviewer for the Athens Photo Festival and I had a couple of people thanking me for helping them and telling me -much in my surprise- that my review was the best review they ever had. That feeling that I may have helped to liberate the creative power in them was indeed a very rewarding feeling.

What is your approach to art in general?

Ι only show art that I love. My approach to art is both intuitive and analytical. I love art that is beautiful and I love art that is interesting and meaningful. At best, it better be both. 

This year at Art Basel CreativeCities Talk the topic was: “Will Athens Become the New Art Capital of Europe?” What do you think about it? Will Athens become the new art capital of Europe soon?

Athens is one of the Art Capitals of Europe. It will obviously never replace London, Paris or Zurich that they also are financial centers of Europe but Athens has an energy and force that is missing from cities that base their artistic production and systems of evaluation in the market or in governmental and institutional support. Here, everything is DIY. If you want to do something you just do it. You are completely by yourself and you are forced to find the means to support it. If thought and creativity (and not money) creates the real business capital, then Athens is already in the right path. 

The story of contemporary art in Greece may not be sweet and harmonious, like invented stories -quiet in the contrary- it may often be fragmented or chaotic but it is a story worth to be told and anyone who visits Athens and has the chance to experience it- is sure to be taken by surprise by the creative forces that live and make up this city. So come and explore!

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