Around Paros In Ninety Minutes
Ishai Shapira Kalter
Opening reception: Monday, 28.6.2021, 18:30 until the works will drown, be taken or disappear.
Starting point (visitors must be equipped with the exhibition map): Aliki Beach, Paros, Greece.
Studio On The Terrace
A long, low, heavy metal gate rolling on two wheels. In order for it to close, it must be rolled on a straight track into a notch. Inside, the yard is paved with stones, it has two planters from which two palm trees grow. They are similar in size, as they were probably planted around fifteen years ago on the same day. It is only logical to think that they were both planted when Mr. Constantine decided to abandon his life in Athens and spend his last years on the Greek island of Paros. There are quite a few people who move to live their last days in Paros. Most of them do not seem to really die in Paros, but only grow old on the island. It takes great courage to die alone. Mr. Constantin’s wife , as he presents her, works long hours in the yard. She sweeps dust, opens blockages, paints walls, cleans and waters the lemon cypresses with a green rubber pipe. The possibility that a convoy of disturbing ants will pass through the yard bother her already disturbed mind, as Mrs. Constantine struggles stubbornly to keep the wild island clean. She does not look anyone in the eye. Never. Mrs. Constantine is always doing something, she is only concentrating on the action she is doing at a certain moment, as if nothing is happening outside her body. Mrs. Constantine is submissive but strong and apparently deaf-mute. It is not a known fact, however, she does not react to people
and has probably suffered abuse during her life. Mr. Constantine is like my grandfather, Eliezer. They both walked with the help of a silver walker, wear a “wifebeater” tank top, suspenders holding up a cheap pair of shorts and a round belly. In my childhood the world was different. Just like in Paros, I would play in the yard and nature cleaned the mess after me.
The exhibition “Around Paros in Ninety Minutes” continues the actions of Ishai Shapira Kalter in two main mediums explored in his work: the curatorial medium and assemblage. After a month-long stay on the Cycladic island of Paros, on the roof of a house he rented with his girlfriend above Mr. and Mrs. Constantine’s front yard, in the technique of painting En plein air, Kalter painted a series of eight oil paintings on canvas. These oil paintings dried up in the scorching sun and are characterized by many layers, with thin brush strokes visible on top. In a direct look, one can notice the color mixes which either resemble a close-up of an abstract detail that is taken from a large- scale figurative painting or they emerge as a pictorial tribute to a late 19th-century painting. The artist stretched the paintings with ropes on top of fruit or vegetable crates made of plywood, intended for the transport and contents of goods. In these works, the crates become simple stretchers and function as a hanging apparatus. The crate is a type of ready-made object – from now on an assemblage – that combines improvised techniques of sculpture and painting.
In a further move, Ishai Shapira Kalter decides to release the works and place them as one exhibition, which takes place at several sites. “Around Paros in Ninety Minutes” is accompanied by a map and displayed on the island’s circumferential route, with no exhibition closing date, until the works will drown, be taken or disappear. The route through which the visitor takes around the island is about an hour and a half by car. On Monday, June 28, Ishai Shapira Kalter installed “Around Paros In Ninety Minutes” especially for the eyes of two lovers. On that day a fire burst on the island due to a sirocco.
The road to the exhibition begins at Apopoulos, Yorgos’ tavern on Alyki Beach. Take the eastside road up north. After ”Paradise Point”, from the spectacular viewpoints in Paros and after driving on a small bridge, on the way to the village of Aspro Chorio at an embossed bus stop which resembles a tiny solitary confinement cell with blue mailboxes and old magazines scattered on a bench, you will find a single crate / painting. At the side of the road in a yellow field, a single crate / painting is installed onto an existing, abstract, iron monument. The dating of this monument begins at an unknown time and is now defined as an integral part of the work of artist Ishai Shapira Kalter, who redefined it as a readymade public sculpture. Further down the road to Golden Beach – a long, touristic and golden stretch of sand – near a small vineyard in a spacious abandoned house made of stone and wooden beams, is the location of the third work attached as a relief to a wall. Descending a Byzantine staircase to one of the nude beaches at the foot of Piso Levadi village perched on a cliff, another crate / painting is seen floating in the Aegean sea. The painting becomes a float, a floating sculpture, a raft with no captain drifting towards Naxos. Up the mountain, in a ceramics workshop on the outskirts of the Orthodox artists’ village of Lefkes, another crate / painting was supposed to be left by the artist. The humid brown workshop was founded in 1951 and also serves as a souvenir shop for the casual tourist passing by. However, the ceramist did not want to receive the painting as he was occupied looking at th efforts of the Fire Department pilots trying to put out the fire in the mountain across. Therefore, Ishai Shapira Kalter decided to install the work in a nearby destroyed Byzantine windmill down the mountain, overviewing the fire. On a burned tree minutes before Naousa, the artist placed another work cluster. On the northwestern side, in Kolymbithres, the estate of the estates of Paros the artist presents one of his works on a rocky hillside. From there, drive to the pier in Pounta. Every half an hour the ferry line that connects Paros and Antiparos arrives. Drive your car aboard. From there, on paved roads that turn into dirt roads, pass several pristine beaches until you reach Faneromeni Church, which is built on the shoreline – where the last assemblage is located.