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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 1 October 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 1 OCTOBER 2016 23 GITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 1 OCTOBER 2016 23 al al as well as of bronze, silver and gold reveal human beings' eternal need to adorn their body, hair and clothing to draw attention and beguile, to stand out, to assert themselves, to attract auspicious powers, or to avert evil. From among these artefacts' multiple meanings, it was decided to highlight their role as evidence of human vanity and coquetry, thus stressing their timeless function and linking them with contemporary humans. All the items − which include pieces worn for purely decorative purposes as well as offerings discovered at sanctuaries such as Delos, among others − are made of precious or semi-precious materials and indicate power, femininity or, in fact, vanity, but they are all a testament to the artistry of local craftsmen and its evolution through the ages. FROM ANTIQUITY TO MODERN TIMES To further stress this continuity, the exhibition is complemented by an annex showcasing 12 modern pieces, especially commissioned for the exhibition from contemporary Greek jewelry designers such as Lito, Nikos Koulis, Ileana Makri, Venyx by Eugenie Niarchos, Yannis Sergakis, Elena Syraka, Minas, Deux Hommes, Sophia Kokosalaki, Ioanna Souflia, Two is Company and Sofia Vamiali. This kind of interaction be- tween the modern and historical pieces is not only a way to create a bridging narrative, but played an important role in making the Mykonos Archaeological Museum a centre of attraction for visitors who otherwise would not enter it. Though the museum was built in 1902, and underwent major renovations in the '30s and '70s, it was largely overlooked. 'Vanity' signals a new era for it. The Ephorate of Antiquities managed to renovate the Archaeological Museum and launch ‘Vanity’ in only two months, a record-time for a state organisation with limited financial resources. The exhibition is curated by Dimitris Athanasoulis, director of the Ephorate of The Cyclades, who stressed that the island of Mykonos has over two million visitors every year, of which only a tiny fraction, estimated to be around 8,000 people, visit the museum, while the same is true for many of the museums in the islands, despite the important value of their collections. This fact urged the Greek state to plan an aggressive strategy to highlight the archaeological and historical importance of their local areas, and 'Vanity' is the first step. "We wanted to take a whole new approach to what an archaeological exhibition is expected to be. We wanted to think out of the box," Athanassoulis explained. The result brings to mind the setup of contemporary art shows. The two halls of the museum are covered wall-towall and floor-to-ceiling with mirrors, reminding the visitor of a giant jewellery box and amplifying the sense of vanity, while the artefacts are displayed in small, elegant, mirror-paneled showcases. "We brought the jewels to the modern day, we present them as jewels someone could wear and admire today, regardless whether they know history or not." So far, the exhibition has been a success, as it has had more than 4,000 visitors in about six weeks. It will remain on display for a year, and from October 2017 it will start travelling to other Cycladic museums, which are also undergoing much needed renovations, in the Greek state's quest to promptly upgrade them to meet the demands of the swarms of tourists visiting each year. A golden bracelet, by designer Sofia Vamiali. Gold earrings from Paros, dated first century BC.
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