The Dio Horia platform for contemporary art and culture in Mykonos offers residencies to artists from all over the world so that they can capture, through their work, the essence of this iconic island, complete with its contradictions.
Finding that a contemporary artistic perspective had been lacking on the island in recent decades, Marina Vranopoulou, curator and art historian, decided two years ago to bring the younger generation of creators to the foreground of the global cultural scene. Having spent her childhood summers on Mykonos, Vranopoulou watched the island change and saw that everything that happened there drew reactions of either love or hate, even in those who had never visited.
She set out to open an artistic dialogue around the question: “What is Mykonos?” Is it the island about which Le Corbusier wrote: “Whatever architecture had to say, it said it here”? Or is it a debauched, greedy, egotistical and glamorous tourist destination? She collected definitions of Mykonos from various historical periods – from antiquity to the present day – and then invited artists from all over the world to live on and draw inspiration from the island in order to create works for an exhibition. The response was enthusiastic; the artist began to arrive. The three-story building on Panahra Square, near trendy Matoyianni Street, is where Vranopoulou houses both artists and their work; it also hosts group shows.
“The three-story building on Panahra Square, near trendy Matoyianni Street, is where Vranopoulou houses both artists and their work; it also hosts group shows.”
It serves as a meeting place, much like an 18th-century salon, as she describes it: a place for dialogue, interaction and interesting evenings for travelers on Mykonos searching for a richer cultural experience. In the garden, a pop-up bookshop offers titles by artists and art catalogs.
This summer, Vranopoulou plans to launch her own publishing program with Greek Gotham, edited by Maria Brito, which will feature the work of 15 artists who trace the invisible coordinates connecting ancient Athens with modern-day New York. She also intends to open the first art bar in town, on the top floor of the building, where there’s a lovely roof terrace.
Vranopoulou’s goal is to make Dio Horia (which means both “two villages” and “two spaces”), a force of opposites that strengthens the attraction between domestic and foreign art, and between her island venue and a pop-up located somewhere else, with work that begins its life on Mykonos and then travels to the rest of the world. Her goal: to create a cultural platform with Greek roots that enjoys international recognition.
“Vranopoulou’s goal is to make Dio Horia (which means both “two villages” and “two spaces”), a force of opposites that strengthens the attraction between domestic and foreign art.”