Remainders at the End of a Summer Bliss by Lanfranco Aceti is a curatorial essay that surveys the exhibition by Bill Balaskas Remains of a Summer Bliss at the Kalfayan Galleries, Athens and Thessaloniki. The essay is published by the Leonardo Electronic Almanac (LEA), MIT Press, on the platform Contemporary Arts and Cultures (CAC).
This curatorial essay looks from afar at the drama of Mediterranean societies which have set themselves up for failure by operating, according to Mediterranean values of corruption and ineptitude, in a globalized context of ruthless capitalism. The analysis of this washout is not a simplistic survey of the reasons that may have lead to it, which are all partial and all inadequate to explain the past two decades of progressive failure, but a sharpened and angered acknowledgment of the cultural inability to rebel, to generate change, or to alter a course that has been set by ‘other forces.’ It is this miserable existence—between the inability to resurge caused by a lack of self-criticism and the constant shifting of blame while waiting for yet again another political savior—that the curator attacks in a critique that does not take prisoners.
This is a Mediterranean in flames and lit by the flashing colored lights of parties—as in the opening scenes of The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza, 2013)—that celebrate with twitchings not the end of life, but the last throes of death. Summer is at an end and the only thing left is the cultural trash upon which we celebrate the iconicity of de-valued and de-moralized existences.
Summer is at an end and the only thing left is the cultural trash upon which we celebrate the iconicity of de-valued and de-moralized existences. The curator lashes out to contemporary societies through the analysis of an exhibition and a series of artworks by Balaskas, which pin to the wall the hypocrisies, platitudes, and certainties of a world at its wits end.
Remainders at the End of a Summer Bliss is one of the chapters of a forthcoming book entitled End of a Summer Bliss.