Balaskas, Bill [Artist] (2018) Apertures. Quando scoppia la pace = When peace erupts. .


The work was created in the context of Italy’s World War I centenary exhibition “Quando scoppia la pace” (“When peace erupts”), which opened on 4 November 2018 in Vittorio Veneto – the location of the last battle of the Great War (1914-1918). In the exhibition, Balaskas was invited to represent his home country Greece, as one of twelve national participations. In “Quando scoppia la pace” Balaskas presents the first part of a dual neon installation, titled “Apertures”. The work’s two parts are reproductions of the right-eye and left-eye apertures of a military mask that the artist discovered in Vittorio Veneto’s Battle Museum (Museo della Battaglia). The mask was used on the Alps, and its particular design was chosen in order to protect the soldiers’ eyes from the low temperatures on the mountains, snow and the reflections of light. “Apertures” has been conceived by Balaskas as a work that shall co-exist in two different locations: Vittorio Veneto for one of the two “eyes”; and at a second location in Austria, which will be announced in the coming months, for the other “eye”. In this way, the work will have a physical presence on both sides of the Alps and, most importantly, on both sides of the Great War. However, a complete “view” of the War era and what it means today can only materialise by ultimately bringing those two parts “together”, above and beyond the mountains – a poignant allegory for the current state of Europe and the collective lessons to be learnt from World War I. Balaskas’s work is permanently exhibited at the entrance of the Battle Museum of Vittorio Veneto, while the Cultural Ambassador of the Greek national participation is the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (EMST).

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