Hydra Art School
by Dimitrios Antonitsis
Dimitrios Antonitsis (born in Athens, 1966) is the founder and curator of HSP ‘Hydra School Projects’, an international platform for the visual arts and the non-profit HSP Residency Program.
Located in an old public school of Hydra, the residencies are a way to support new artists by providing opportunities for production and exhibition contemporary art in the magic island of Hydra, in Greece.
Dimitrios is also an artist in his own right. His artworks have been widely exhibited in Greece and abroad and he has been recently awarded for his short film, ‘Past Glories, Present Despondencies‘, in collaboration with the Robert de Niro film studio. We love to hear that from him and his contribution to art though a non profit project such as Hydra Art School.
How did you choose the current artist to exhibit at Hydra School? What is the appealing theme behind his project?
The current exhibition is titled AWE. It addresses divine adoration mixed with ecstasy and fear. What an unusual cocktail of emotions! And very unexpected to build a summer show around it…
What is the curational process in the school? How do you choose the artists?
There is always a theme. The artworks highlight different aspects of the theme. The same way I would approach compounding short stories for an anthology. Some of the artworks are created especially for my exhibition; others loaned from the artists studios or galleries. Some also from collections.
You found HSP on 2000, How did the idea of starting the project come about? What has changed in the project since then?
HSP was founded in 1999 and the first exhibition occurred in 2000. Nothing has changed in our dedication to the project. We stick to the initial modus operandi. Sadly with less funding these days. However, we are one of the few contemporary art platforms who endured the crisis.
Are you arranging something to celebrate the 20th anniversary?
The celebration of our anniversary includes the placement of 218 artworks by 77 artists who have exhibited at HSP in various locations around the port. This parallel show is titled “20 FOREVER”, the 2nd HSP Art Walk. There is a quite tongue-in-cheek approach selecting location and artist. There is an App one can download to use it as a map.
Henry Miller declared Hydra aesthetically “perfect”. What do you enjoy most of your day-to-day life on the island and at the school? What contributes the fact of being on this particular island to the project?
The whole art project is built around this island. I couldn’t have possibly done it this way somewhere else. It is approached with the same simplicity and humility this island offers. And endurance apparently…To quote Leonard Cohen: “There is nowhere in the world where you can live like you can in Hydra, and that includes Hydra.”
What is happening now away from the school walls within the HSP as an international program?
And also about your projects as an artist, anything new in which you are involved now?
Currently I am in New York for the scheduled studio visits. This is really fun and exciting.
As a sculptor I continue working in aluminium and titanium: Large scale outdoor sculpture, but also tiny ones (jewelry). Sculpture is such a weird and uncomfortable territory cause you strip down from mannerisms and get in touch with inborn processes. My latest large scale piece “Levitation Strategy: Cannis Majoris” was purchased for the permanent collection of the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens. And my jewelry was exhibited at Georg Hornemann’s showroom in Berlin.