Statements of Repentance

(Δηλώσεις Μετάνοιας)

Site specific Installation
rocks, printings, charcoal, scaffold
2012

Short description:

The installation is inspired by the extended usage of Statements of Repentance in Greece’s contemporary political history. Huge rocks blog a door and don’t permit entrance of the visitor. On the rocks, written in charcoal, are the excerpts of Statements of Repentance, which emphasize on the sentiments of regression, disappointment, misleading and deception. The installation is accompanied with a large reproduction of a Statement of Repentance as it was published in the newspaper, now presented hanging on a scaffolding. The text of the Statement is post-treated by the artist, leaving empty parts and repeating words in a poetic way.


Presented:

Santorini Biennale of Arts, Pirgos, 1/8/2010 – 30/9/2012, Santorini, Greece
Commissioned by the 1st Santorini Biennale of Arts


Historical background:

In 1948, the forced Law 516/81 was passed in Greece. It stated that any person appointed to any public service, attending faculty, getting work and/or driver’s license, should show loyalty credentials to the government in power. The loyalty credentials were well known as “statements of repentance”, where one who either had or had not participated in the Communist or the Left Party, had to renounce any connection with them. In 1949, at the end of the Greek Civil War, every single citizen was forced to sign such a declaration. Refusal of repudiation of communism automatically meant exile and internment.

Until the late 1970s the declarations of repentance condemned those who favored the left to live beyond and outside any aspect of social life. Their liberation was inextricably linked with their signature. The non-signature was a key purpose of any torture suffered by prisoners. While there lately has been extended research on the Civil War in Greece, there is a lack of information on the people who signed; as we have been taught to remember only heroes, a very big part of history remains in silence. Those, who after the filing of their signature, could not be incorporated in any of the two blocs, either the right or left, had to wait for the erasure of memory, the ignorance of history, had to remain in oblivion.


Example of a statement of repentance :

“The undersigned, […], resident of the village […], I solemnly and with knowledge of the consequences of the law on misrepresentation, I declare that after having believed in false promises of the anti-national organization EAM*, I joined them and at the committee formed in my village, I was the president. After the collapse of the anti-national movement and the return of national troops, I blockaded the national organizations and boycotted the 1946 elections. In 1947 as I realized my mistake, I repudiated EAM as an organization. Unfortunately, since the residents of my village still considered me as an anti-nationalist, despite my will, in 1952 I was forced because of their contempt, to EDA**, in which I was a representative. However, I realized, rather late, that was an offshoot of the Communist Party, and I withdrew from it; now I only vote for national parties. At the elections of 1956, I supported the combination of ERE***; which I voted for. Currently and publicly I disavow the Communist Party and EDA and I call all misguided to follow my example.

In […] 16/3/1959 by the declarant[..]

*EAM = National Liberation Front (created by the Communist Party with the main goal to liberate the country from the German occupation).

**EDA = United Democratic Left (created after the end of the Civil war, that mostly represented the left after the collapse and the defeat of the Communist Party).

***ERE = National Radical Union (the conservative party created by K.Karamanlis in 1955).

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