Melbourne based conceptual artist, Konstantin Dimopoulos has just installed Black Parthenon, a major light installation Melbourne’s Federation Square.
Black Parthenon calls for restitution of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens by Britain and with the opening of the new Acropolis Museum there has been a new global push to have the Parthenon Marbles, stolen by Lord Elgin in the 1800s, returned to Greece.
Dimopoulos’ passion for the project is evident from his responses to Neos Kosmos English Edition (NKEE): “The Parthenon is more than a building it is an idea, and ideas are incredibly powerful they change the world. This incredible building on the Acropolis has had its heart ripped out with all the incredible friezes taken by Lord Elgin.”
The Black Parthenon uses scaffolding clad in black cloth to create an architectural imprint of the Parthenon.
By day the installation is a black funerary altarpiece and at night it explodes into vibrant white and blue light.
“Many people might not be aware that the Parthenon was a very colourful building in many ways akin to a Hindu temple, but more than the past what interests me is today, and most people look at the Parthenon and see this incredible architectural accomplishment which became the kernel of Western civilisation’s ideas on art and architecture, which was borrowed by the Romans, it all began with this amazing architectural idea which is the Parthenon.”
He has no time for the argument espoused by the British Government and other apologists of Lord Elgin’s colonial grand theft: “Even if they, [British], say they took the Marbles to ‘protect them from the Turks’, I use this analogy: if your house was burning and people came and took away the stuff to protect it, they would need to then give it back, they just don’t keep it!”
Dimopoulos compares the need to return the Parthenon Marbles with the right of all people’s to have their cultural artefacts returned: “Time has come, we are now in the 21st Century whether its Aboriginal work, or Maori work, these cultural artefacts need to be restored to their rightful owners. I know contemporary Greeks may not be the Greeks of ancient times, but neither are the Brits today the Brits of yesterday.”
Dimopoulos originally of Cypriot and Cretan background was born in Egypt but was forced to migrate with his family, as a child, to New Zealand after the nationalist troubles began in Egypt , in the late 1950s.
He has been living in Melbourne over the last few years, and has established a significant career as a sculptor and conceptual artist.
Like most Greeks, politics, ideas and the aesthetics meld into one: “Once you create an idea, it can not be undone, and as a conceptual artist, and like many Greeks, I like ideas, I am looking to take this work to the Bienniale, possibly in Liverpool, even if I have to move it myself like a Trojan Horse and then a half a dozen of us going in to take the Marbles.”
With the passion of Dimopoulos and the idea of an installation acting as a Trojan Horse we may actually get these marbles back.
Forum on the Return of the Parthenon Marbles
As part of the the Festival of Light, there will be a forum on the Return of the Parthenon Marbles on July 2 at 6pm at BMW Edge at Federation Square.
Panelists include: Konstantin Dimopoulos, Mike Green the Head of Indigenous Cultures, Melbourne Museum, David Hill the president of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles, and Lyndon Ormond-Parker from Melbourne University, an expert on the use of digital media to connect indigenous communities with heritage collections.
For more information visit www.kondimopoulos.com of contact Konstantin Dimopoulos 040 013 9691