National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens

Dimitris Alithinos



The work is displayed as part of the permanent exhibition


Sculptural Installation

Plaster, wood, tape recorder, lamp
140 x 153 x 100 cm
Purchased in 2002 on subsidy by the Ministry of Economy and Finance
Inv. No. 162/02

During the 1970s, experimenting with the art movements of the 1960s, Dimitris Alithinos renegotiates the relationship between reality and representation, between art and life, creating installations and performances for the public space which express the ideas of defiance and subversion. In A Happening —following the ways of the French New Realists— he uses ready-made and self-made objects in order to subject the audience to a number of cognitive processes and create associative links to the turbulent socio-political climate of his time. The woman lying on the floor in foetal position, tied hand and foot, the overturned chair and the lamp are references to those tortured during the Greek junta. The tape recorder —the presence of which creates the anticipation of the hearing of a confession, one that never actually occurs— produces a sound that runs in a loop each time the recording reaches the end of the reel. As Alithinos has described it, this sound is meant to allude to the woman’s heart beating in acute distress. In this work, Alithinos’ continuous research on the renewal of plastic language is encapsulated in the introduction of the fourth dimension (the elements of sound and motion) produced by the repetitive sound stemming from the reel. The work’s title is effectively a pun that toys with the rather vague sense in which the concept of happening was understood by the Greek art scene of the time, highlighting the artist’s critical stance towards established ideas about art, aesthetics, and artistic practices.
Anina Valkana, ENTER EMST: Collection and history, A short guide, 2020

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