Organized by Omada Filopappou
The Travelling Emperor
The issue of the villa iolas, along with the phenomenon of Iola’s personality creates an extent field of research that, from early on, appeared difficult to grasp and to work or comment on it. Throughout the research we have done as Filopappou group, what intrigued me was the Iola’s exuberance and the multiple lives that seemed to have lived, constantly mobile and always with the term ‘ambiguous’ applied to whatever he did. It appears that apart from the exuberance, he’s characterized by an audacious spirit and his own moral system that undoubtedly at times was in conflict with the current social values. Following the journeys he made and the identities he switched, through the biographies and interviews of his associates and friends, and trying to understand, or at least form an opinion of my own, about the phenomenon Iolas and his ambition for Villa Iola, I explored three figures that played a central or peripheral part in his life and the evolution of one of the collections he created which resulted in a museum. In a presentation- installation of this on-going research that I made in my workshop, I showed my work of photographs, plans and constructions along with a print issue collated from interviews, anecdotal stories and archival photographs with the biographies of the three and the collection.
The presentation was accompanied by a text with extract of Grzegorz Kowalski (see Kowalnia) interview about artist’s role.
‘If we acknowledge that art has to address the collective consciousness, that has to introduce the public into new areas of comprehension or to simply pose questions and create doubts, it is obvious that the artist cannot comply with the morals and the system of ethics of his time’[illustrating this point G.K. is interpreting the fairytale ‘The Emperor’s new clothes’]. ‘Αrt is not the child-whistleblower of the story that pronounces the emperor nude; the artists are the tailors that they desire to exhilarate to the heights of non-clothes by undressing the emperor.‘Art is an illusion not as a deception but as a constructed reality, a condition that requires faith to exist. Αrt is not about discovering and revealing but it is about taking responsibility of the reality that one is creating beyond the established.’
Considering then Iolas as ‘the travelling emperor’ I present him in a part of his journey, through the biography of Theodora Roosevelt-Keogh, Niki Stifel, John de Cuevas and the Collection De Menil.