Tomas Diafas | I want an art superior to me

Tomas Diafas borrows elements from demonstrations in Greek cities and creates the performance "I want an art superior to me".

Quickly-made banners, with barely distinguishable slogans, manifestos on flyers spread in the streets, mark the lonely paths of the single protestor, the artist. This time the slogans are not in demand of a relief in taxation or a change of law. They aren't directed  to ministers and members of parliament, deriving instead from the question: "What should we do with art when we are starving?" Therefore, the banner "We want an art for the starving, no more works for the privileged" that was placed by Diafas on the facade of the Bagkeion on Omonoia Square, which hosts the Athens Biennale, is a cry directed towards artists. The work hints towards the notion of a more active relationship between art and society, which is the topic of Tomas Diafas' research.

The action took place in the streets of Athens,  with the artist distributing flyers to the public at the entrances of museums, theaters and government buildings. A silent protest that attempts to unify the two worlds in which he lives: "Shut down the museums!", "No more electricity cuts, cut our art instead!", and other slogans. 

The public reaction to the work instigated Diafas into performing an action on the opening of the Acts of Engagement exhibition, where he invited the visitors of the exhibition as well as the public from Omonoia Square into the Bagkeion building. Chanting "censor-sheep" he lowered the banner , read the manifesto which raised the question "How can art be made when everything around you is dying?" and rallied the public to chant the "censored" slogan (We want an art for the starving...), placing the artwork in a more conventional exhibitional manner. The question "What can we do with art when we are starving" remains for the artist, open.

Tomas Diafas developed and presented the project in the context of ACTS OF ENGAGEMENT, a ten-day collaborative working cycle for art in the  public sphere, organized by C.A.S.A. in the context of the Athens Biennale AB5to6.  Through the program artists and researchers from Greece and abroad explore in a ten-day workshop the role of art outside conventional art spaces and how audiences and residents can be involved into action while re-examining the function of the urban public space of Omonoia square, in the center of the city of Athens.