Vasilis Zarifopoulos is the “company representative” and “a real life muse” of Life Sport. The press release mentions that although the pair met for a photoshoot, the images were never intended to become an exhibition.
Vasilis is a series of over-sized photos of Zarifopoulos. Since 2014 Life Sport have been investigating ways to live and self-optimise in Athens by producing and selling their own branded grey sweat pants, and curating art exhibitions that run closely and openly alongside this framework. It seems to be the perfect space for large-scale portraits of their representative that investigate “selfhood by defining individual characteristics that make us unique”, amongst other things.
Vasilis (the person and the exhibition) speaks of “a new age belief that our fate lies within us (not the state, not austerity)”.
Artist and self-taught dietician Nina Cristante had a solo show, Life Sport at Athens’ Life Sport that ran last month between February 27 to March 19. For the exhibition, the grey sweatpants produced and sold by the Greek art space —and that each artist who exhibits there is invited to install or wear —are hung in neat rows on white hooks with their elastic waist ties hanging down, all to the right hand side and mostly in unison. There is definitely a way to the way that Cristante, who has shown work with Bari’s 63rd-77th Steps and has what could be described as an ‘accompanying’ sound cloud accountdoes things in her works and in the way she installs them in space.
One photograph, which is mounted on a wall shows two women exercising. One is using her pushchair to do a headstand with and the other is balancing a baby with no hands on her lap, while she squats and tones her triceps against a park bench. It is a nice image to look at, partly because the gap created between the first woman’s leg and the pushchair might be mirrored in the gap between the second woman’s arms and the bench, and partly because we can see that Cristante has installed it at the top of a descending staircase, down to the lower floor, as though the photograph is resting and balancing at the top of a squat.
On the lower floor, and on the floor, is a large gym mat, whose corners Cristante has lined up delicately in relation to the position of the projection on one side of the room, and several hanging folded white towels, or pieces of linen, on the other, which mimic the grey and black sweatpants.
The documentation images for Life Sport themselves seem to exist to point out the subtleties and relationships inside the show and works, between the mat’s corner and the corner of the mat in the projected video, for example. In the same way that Cristante talks about “inner cues” and “making room for intuition” in relation to her diet during an interview for DIS magazine, the works are also available to be listened to.
In the video, Cristante is doing a set of exercises on the mat for about 13 minutes that are not boring to watch. This is helped by the simple piano playing track that accompanies it, which changes in tone as the exercises change in tone —for example, when Cristante sits almost lying down with her arm like a halo arched around her head, the piano notes go higher, slower and become more of a twinkle than a series of notes.
The sound and actions suit each other, no fuss and no excess, just like the shape made on the crumbling wall that hasn’t been touched up in the lower space suits the shape of the woman in the third photograph who is exercising by doing push-ups over a baby that is sat playing on something in a park. Both of them are being, regardless.**