Tzeni Argyriou

Artist statement

Tzeni Argyriou (Kavala, Greece, 1977) is an independent choreographer, performance maker and media artist. She graduated from the State School of Dance in Athens. With a scholarship from the A. Onassis Foundation, she continued her studies in New York (1999-2003). During her stay there, she collaborated as a performer while creating and presenting her own individual projects. Since 2003 Tzeni is a founding member of, a non-profit company that supports the creation of multidisciplinary and hybrid art forms. For more than 15 years her interest has been in engaging the performing arts with new technologies and other artistic genres, generating choreographic artworks, multimedia performances and installations, as well as in situ works based on the local history and community. Some of those works were realized through co-creations with local and international artists. After investigating the merging of media constructions with performative explorations, in recent years she has returned to the ‘analogue’ body and the empowerment of collective physical experiences.

Her works, such as Synthesis, Phrasis-Praxis, Αποθέματα:Inventory, ΑΝΩΝΥΜΟ, Stigmiographies, Face to Phase, Memorandum and Dr. Maybe Darling, have been produced and/or presented by renowned institutions and festivals, among them the Onassis Cultural Centre (GR), the Athens and Epidaurus Festival (GR), Festival Rencontres Chorégraphiques Internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis (FR), Kalamata International Dance Festival (GR), Spring Performing Arts Festival Utrecht (NL), Benaki Museum, Athens (GR), Fast Forward Festival (GR), MIR Festival (GR), Temps D’Images Festival, Düsseldorf (DE), Arc For Dance Festival (GR) and Judson Church at Movement Research N.Y. (U.S.A.). Tzeni has been an invited artist in residency with local and international art institutions in Greece, Germany, France, Netherlands, Portugal, Bulgaria and other countries. Her work has been supported, among others, by Stavros Niarxos Foundation, the Greek Ministry of Culture, Onassis Foundation, Neon Foundation, Institut Français and the Duncan Dance Research Center.

Tzeni has designed and implemented original research workshops and improvisation workshops for children, adult amateurs and professionals for Athens Digital Art Festival, BIOS exploring urban culture, State Dance School, Athens School of Fine Arts and others. “As an artist, I am interested in the in-between-space, breaking the boundaries of different art forms, aiming to reach unknown areas and finally composing a complex but otherwise minimal-looking structure. Nevertheless, the source of my work is motion: (e)motion and understanding have always been the links between all the elements that I use. I am fascinated by working with various non-professional groups of people of all ages, and creating community-based projects, audience participatory events and site-specific projects.

Research, experimentation and collaboration are essential parts of my creative process and many works have been co-creations. My customary working practices include laboratories, interviews and other activities which are open to the public and often take place in public spaces. In this way I come closer to a wider perception of the work, the topic, the methodology, the tools and the format that is specifically needed. The last years I have been dedicated to returning art to where it started: to community life becoming a tool of communication, exchange and evolution. That is to say, to take inspiration from a time when art forms such as dance were not something created by particular, named individuals, to be ‘viewed’ by a passive audience. Instead, art was a practice which brought people—and kept communities—together. Living in a time where physical distance and digital presence have become fundamental to our social life, I seek to keep alive the human necessity of physical presence, communication and interaction. So, one of my major interests is the creation of projects that suggest the active engagement of the audience. Some of the topics at the heart of my research and practice are: the influence of technology in our lives, our relationship with recent history and collective memory, our relationship with art and public space and the gap between words and actions.

Borrowing elements from both visual and performative arts, I am interested to create circumstances with a parallel existence of backstage and front-stage. This motivation gives the work another proximity where it is not presented an ‘alien’ body, but gives some clues and understanding to the process. Space and time management, the dynamic organization of the preparation, and the spectators’ and participants’ mobility, constantly rearrange and reshape the pace of my thought. I like to create open systems, adjustable to different contexts and contents, each time collaborating with the local artistic scene and community and integrating its unique characteristics.”

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