The garden is a liminal zone, subject as well to competing historical, socio-cultural, and political formations and Socratous is interested in exploring the cultural and political connotations of a garden with aspirations to represent the ‘national’. In 2012 the artist began to take long walks in the Garden’s alleys, cutting and collecting without permission twigs and leafs from plants considered indigenous, like the olive, the citrus and the pomegranate trees, used in antiquity to adorn the heads of Olympic champions. He later cast his stolen ‘loot’ in precious metals and displayed them on a piece of pristine white marble, the material of classical Greek sculpture par excellence, in a work titled Stolen (2012). Executed at the height of Greece’s financial crisis, when numerous scandals revealed a corrupted political system that systematically embezzled public funds, Socratous’s piece poetically emulated an analogous gesture pointing at the way a country with claims to a glorious past that laid the pillars of democracy in marble temples and agorae, was now brought to the brim of destruction by various acts of stealing.
gestures of resistance