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Curator | Elina Kountouri, Director, NEON
The South Slope of the Acropolis was from the beginning a pole of attraction for the inhabitants of Athens because of its terrain, its natural protection and the existence of sources of drinking water. From the archaic times on, the establishment of important sanctuaries and theatrical buildings on the south side of the Acropolis gave great religious, cultural and spiritual significance.
Τhe springhouse constructed in archaic times on the natural terrace, where later the Asclepieion founded and the archaic temple of Dionysus in the Sanctuary of Dionysus Elefthereus consisted the first proven constructions of the archaic period in the South Slope of the Acropolis. The formation of a circular area slightly north of the temple, used for the celebration of the cult dance in honor of the god, is dated in the same period (second half of the 6th century BC.). This area gradually took the form of the Theatre of Dionysus where the works of the great dramatists of antiquity were “taught”.
Around 330 B.C., in the archonship of Lykourgos, the Sanctuary and the Theatre of Dionysus in the eastern part of the South Slope of the Acropolis were completely configured. In that period the Later Temple of Dionysus, with the altar in the east, and the so-called Doric stoa in the northern part of the sanctuary are, probably dated. At the same time, the theater acquired its monumental dimensions and form. It was constructed entirely by stone and was extended up the foothill of the Acropolis rock, including the Promenade, the road that ran around the hill.
More information about the South Slope of the Acropolis of Athens here.
Activating archaeological sites with contemporary art, NEON presents Richard Long’s Athens Slate Line, positioned leading up to the shrine of Dionysos Eleuthereus on the South Slope of the Acropolis of Athens. The project, realised in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Sports, is part of the initiative “All of Greece, One Culture”.
Richard Long has for many decades been associated with the emergence of Land Art in Britain during the 1960s. Central to his practice is the action of walking. He has created sculpture and Land Art using lines all over the world. Central to his practice is the action of walking. Drawing inspiration from nature’s processes and organic materials, his pioneering works attempt to mimic the experience of nature. His sculptures are usually in the form of geometric shapes (circles, lines, ellipses and spirals) and often consist of materials native to the place where they are created.
This particular work, Athens Slate Line (1984), consists of individual pieces of slate assembled to form a line. Its linear shape acts as a path, reminiscent of the meditative nature of walking. Walks combine physical endurance with the principles of order, action and idea, proposing a new way of viewing the wider area of the site.
A line has been at the core of Long’s practice. It first appeared in his seminal work A Line Made by Walking (1967), as a student at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London. He created this artwork by continually treading the same path in a grass field in Wiltshire.
More information about the installation Athens Slate Line here.
Installation Views | Photographs © Fanis Kafantaris | Courtesy NEON