Keep On Keeping On: A visual meta-collection by Evita Tsokanta (P ’97)

Evita Tsokanta, a Pierce ’97 graduate, pursued her love of arts at Rutgers University earning a double major bachelor’s degree in English and Art History. She continued her studies with a master’s degree in Cultural and Creative Industries at King’s College London.

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Over the years, Evita gained substantial work experience as a Development Department Assistant at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, a Gallery Director at the Loraini Alimantiri Gazonrouge in Athens, and an Editorial Assistant at Tate Communications, Production Assistant at the Faliro House Productions. The Pierce alumna is now an independent curator, while at the same time she also holds the position of Art History Lecturer at Arcadia University in Athens. Some of the exhibitions and projects she has curated so far include: Déjà vécu, Anamesa, Athens; and Reverb: New Art from Greece, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; while she was also part of the 4th Athens Biennial, AGORA curatorial team.

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For her latest project, Evita returned to her alma mater, showing her exhibition Keep on Keeping on: a visual meta-collection at this year’s Arts Festival (March 3 – April 10), organized by the Frances Rich School of Fine and Performing Arts at Deree (FRSFPA).

Keep on Keeping on consists of a selection of historical works and artefacts from the ACG Collection, alongside recent works by young Greek and international artists, including new commissions, as well as the outcome of collaborations with senior students of the FRSFPA.

The multifaceted ACG Collection has been created through time by a series of donations and acquisitions, under the guidance of different people of possibly opposing agendas, and therefore marked by various aesthetics. By juxtaposing selected works of this collection with a number of contemporary artworks through curatorial gestures that gently balance the absurd and the poetic, Keep on Keeping on reveals hidden connections as seen through the prism of today’s knowledge and demonstrates the obscure unity of a contemporary art collection: the ecumenical anthropocentric element.

The exhibition attempts to expand preconceived perceptions of visual language, both in terms of the artwork, as well as the framework of the contemporary art exhibition itself. By exhibiting seemingly random objects together, the sense of the unexpected is provoked. The viewer’s gaze is forced into a state of willing suspension of disbelief and urged to deconstruct anew the purpose, meaning, and symbolic value of each exhibit.

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Keep on Keeping on acts as an encouragement to reassess the authority that determines artistic value. By demonstrating the many sources and numerous vocabularies by which art can and is produced, it becomes the object of universal assertion. Ultimately, it argues for a reclaiming one’s power to speak about oneself, while embracing the possibility of the proverbial failure as an essential element of self-definition. This ode to the self-referential hopes to motivate and enable the subject to actively participate, not only in the appreciation, but even in the development of artistic content.

Finally, it’s an exhibition about making an exhibition, about producing and consuming art, about acceptance of organic human evolution and, ultimately, about recognizing the universal drive of creativity in every aspect of life. As Henry Miller stated “To make living itself an art, that is the goal.”