journey in light and time

Opening: Saturday 10 November 2018 | 20.00

Duration: 10 November 2018 - 8 February 2019

MUNICIPAL ART GALLERY OF AGRINIO

Dim. Votsi 2, Agrinio, Τ.: 26413 60316
Opening hours: 10:00-13:30 & 18:00-21:00
Sunday: 10:30-14:00, Monday closed
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GEORGIOS PAPANASTASIOU / Mayor of Agrinio

The tour in the Papastratos Tobacco Warehouses, through the lens of Christos Simatos, is a journey in the most vivid memories of our city. Through the cracks of time, dreamy scents of rare blends emerge, along with the aura of an era gone and forgotten.

The history of the Papastratos family is our living heritage. Their works, our sacred legacy, our monumental treasure. If the collective memory of a city is inscribed in its building culture, Agrinio is permeated by the works of our great benefactors. Specifically, the Tobacco Warehouses, an architectural ornament in the center of our city, preserve a powerful and unchangeable presence in time. They remind us, in the most emphatic way, of the need to protect our historical identity and to renew our commitment to intercepting the degradation of the urban planning of our city.

The Papastratos family has taught us, in the times of great need and deprivation, what it means to offer all you can to your country, to your fellow man, to education and culture. Their magnificence is imprinted in the emblematic works they left behind as donations to their fellow citizens.

The album by Christos Simatos becomes the means by which oncoming generations bring memory into its own. As future guardians, they discover the worth of our cultural heritage and they asseverate that the benefaction of the Papastratos Brothers has found grateful recipients.

CHRISTOS GAROUFALIS / Pictorial Artist, Αrtistic Director of the Municipal Art Gallery of Agrinio

From light to darkness, from today to yesterday, from the commotion of life to the silence of absence. A course run two ways. Sometime ago they were teeming with life, and so? Today they stand there hermetically sealed, with their walls embracing history tightly… Christos Simatos invites us to take a journey into the past…. His goal isn’t to just freeze time, but to imprint the sensation of the moment preserving memory. The visible is just the pretext. Every click of his camera becomes the mark of the time and era he brings to life, images soaked with the sweat of so many people and their agony to get their everyday bread… It becomes a sunray that soars and vibrates yesterday, at the same time shining on the inner self of each and every one of us. The cracks of the wooden shutters become a passageway through which the cold light seductively traverses the warmth of space, embracing its silent order. It illuminates the marks of time on the weathered plasters and the wooden floors, resembling the interiors painted by Rembrandt and Vermeer, attaching new dimensions to them.

I have experienced the joy of the whole procedure of taking photographs, from the intense moment accompanying the discovery of the right place to that magical fraction of the second of creation…I can still feel the dust, the smell, I can hear the creaking sound of the wooden staircase in our every step as we were fumbling about in the darkness of space with Marianna, our presence stirring up slightly its lasting quiescence. I stood still, thought I was hearing whispers, voices, heartbeats, footsteps and then again silence…

The photographer stands aside, in the shade, discretely letting light come to him… His excellent workmanship does not drown the emotions, since whatever is depicted in the frame is equally important to what is meant outside of it. The more shadows are lit, the more the connection of space with our gaze is activated, attaching a new sensation to their converse with time… The immaterial and the material walk along together and disperse into the atmosphere… The empty Papastratos Tobacco Warehouses step out into the light and trigger the awakening of our collective memory.

Simatos faces them with respect, he approaches them as a pilgrim, granting them the appropriate space to narrate their stories, with the leading actors being present or absent. So to compose their final verse…

CHRISTOS HARPANTIDIS / President and CEO Papastratos CMC S.A.

More than 100 years have passed from the foundation of the PAPASTRATOS CMC S.A. tobacco company in Agrinio. A company that was meant to go a long way in light and time, to become the largest tobacco industry of our country, continuously supporting the financial and social life of Greece. Going on with steady and secure steps, continuing the vision of its founders, PAPASTRATOS CMC S.A. remains unbreakably connected with their birthplace. The album “Papastratos Tobacco Warehouses - journey in light and time”, with material from the old Papastratos Τobacco Warehouses, is one more proof of the way Agrinio honours and highlights the heritage of the Papastratos family to the oncoming generations. I am sure this relationship will continue to exist with the same consistency and devotion.