Hermès reopened its store on the coveted corner of Voukourestiou Street and Stadiou Avenue, in Athens, Greece, a few days ago. In celebration of its annual theme “Object Sense” and to mark the reopening of Hermès’ landmark Athenian boutique, the Maison commissioned artist Socratis Socratous, a long standing collaborator of the brand, to bring the store’s windows to life with a specially designed installation.
The installation, one of my personal favourites ever, revisits the recurrent theme of zoomorphism as found in Mediterranean cultures and combines it with the Maison’s imagery and philosophy.
Each store window is metamorphosed into a unique habitat reminiscent of an oneiric mythological scene, where ancient iconography converse with Hermès’ creations and their inherent aesthetic qualities. Constructed with diverse materials such as iron and bronze, Socratous’ objects engage in an active dialogue with those by Hermès, and generate a stimulating and thought-provoking narrative that ebbs and flows between the imaginary and the real.
“The exuberant participation of animals –now transformed into objects in Socratous’s story– enunciates their role in the expressive mode of Hermès through its innumerable patterns and scenes emerging throughout its history. Criss-crossing between the domains of the imaginary and the real, the artist indulges viewers in a playful yet mystical atmosphere, where objects come to life. At the same time, the limitless human imagination that always integrates zoomorphic representations into everyday life suddenly takes the shape of three-dimensional works that gradually evolve into ritualistic artefacts. And as in the case of rhyton, the opening of the brand new Hermès store in Athens fabricates the connection between the functional hypostasis of the essence of the object with the ceremonial and celebratory aspect of life itself”, as quoted by Dr Kostas Prapoglou.
The craftsmanship of Hermès objects featured with items that emphasise the relationship between ancient iconography and a modern aesthetic, invite us to discover Hermès’ culture and its constant quest to pursue creativity and excellence.
If in Athens, do not miss it. It’s a sight for sore eyes. And a pleasure to the psyche. Nothing less.
About the artist
Socratis Socratous (b. in Paphos, Cyprus) lives and works in Athens, Greece. Socratis Socratous’ work has been exhibited internationally at distinguished museums and institutions including Centre Pompidou, Paris; BOZAR, Brussels; Anne and Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide, South Australia; State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens; Kunsthalle Athena, Athens; Venice Biennale, Thessaloniki Biennale; Riwaq Biennial. Socratis Socratous is represented by The Breeder.
Hermès presents: ZOOMORPHISM | Reimagining Personal Mythologies by Socratis Socratous
– Until June 30, 2017.