Peter Amby’s birthday couldn’t be just a normal party, it was a symposium. In ancient Greece, the symposium (from συμπόσιον symposion, and συμπίνειν sympinein, “to drink together”) was a drinking party. The Greek symposium was a key Hellenic social institution. It was a forum for men of good family to debate, plot, boast, or simply to revel with others. Symposia were frequently held to celebrate the introduction of young men into aristocratic society. They were also held by aristocrats to celebrate other special occasions, such as victories in athletic and poetic contests.
For that special occasion, entitled: “Fine and Dandy Symposium” Danish artists Mathias&Mathias (Mathias Toubro, b. 1986, DK & Mathias Dyhr, b. 1991, DK, both live and work in Copenhagen) reworked the installations of their gallerist’s private collection, which includes names like Ugo Rondinone, Olafur Eliasson and Sophie Calle. Mathias&Mathias’s intervention consisted in conceptualizing the collection through a new thematic approach: changing place to many of the works, adding a 25 m plaster ornamentation running along the walls, wall painting the rooms in tan and dark red and handmade stucco. The Danish duo created in this way a physical space for their work, but also an organic exhibition where the boundaries between their pieces and the rest of the collection melt, in a unique, intimate setting.
The result is a three room exhibition: the first one is a bright space to chat and eat together looking at some good pieces hanged on the walls. Guests could sit on chairs designed by the Dutch Gerrit Rietveld, who also designed the tube chandelier in the studio, or on vintage Danish school chairs. The second one is a frivolous living room with rainbow themed works and flower printed sofas, for social and cultural gatherings.The last one is the studio, a vigorous room for the power talks, with a lot of relevant pieces, illuminated with lamps made by Danish artist FOS, who also made the table by the sofa as well as the work Keys to the Future. And who can inhabit and maintain such an environment other than the dandy? “Fine and Dandy Symposium” is at the same time an installation and an event, incorporating both the group and the party’s vibe as a mannered mass ornament.
Mathias&Mathias are not new to the Greek tragicomedy, having worked, on a satyr play in “Tale to Tale” exhibition for KBH Kunsthal, Krabbesholm. During the opening ceremony a 60 cm crystal was broken in small pieces and special drinks with amethyst were offered to the guests. Used by the Ancient Greeks and Romans as a way to ward off drunkennes, that meant less alcohol, and thus, less intoxication. Both the Greeks and Romans made drinking cups of amethyst and wore talismans of amethyst to prevent euphoria. According to the ancient custom, the intoxication was determined by a symposiarch, the host and center of the event who had to secure that a balanced squandering was maintained by amethyst and myrra shards in the glass.
A tragic masked doorwoman, opened the door in theatrical ancient Greek style, together (in the original project) with a comic masked guard dog. Our visit to the off space apartment thus became a way to have a dialogue with the gallerist, to exercise the art of discourse. A dynamic work of rhetoric, of capability to inform, persuade, or motivate particular arguments. Peter Amby’s private exhibition, until February 22nd, is the place where the aristocracy and the cultural elite can mingle, discuss and enjoy each other.