The Theater of Disappearance was a major site-specific installation by celebrated Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas, commissioned and organised by NEON. Villar Rojas is well known for his large-scale sculptural installations that radically disturb the sites he engages with. Through his work, he interrupts the status quo of artistic practice and behaviour within a museum, a site of cultural heritage, a rooftop or public space. He creates unpredictable settings for the visitor to explore, places where we feel uncomfortable or are astounded by the alternative histories he suggests. Concerned with ideas of disappearance, extinction, the passage and volatility of time, Villar Rojas creates a new, and often disconcerting, visual language.
Curated by Elina Kountouri, NEON’s Director, this project saw him negotiating with an archaeological site for the first time as he radically altered both the indoor and outdoor spaces of the National Observatory of Athens. The Observatory, established in 1842 on the Hill of the Muses adjacent to the Acropolis, underwent a complete transformation by the artist – architectural, horticultural and emotional.