Contemporary Art meets Wine Tasting at Kantharos Gatherings

Wine Tasting performances designed by contemporary artists.

Kantharos Gatherings, Conceptualized and Curated by Eleni Tranouli.
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Kantharos Gatherings is a holistic concept by curator Eleni Tranouli, powered by Dexamenes Seaside Hotel. It’s an original series of wine tasting experiences, designed by emerging visual artists, that bridge hospitality with contemporary art, and intertwine with the hotel’s unique story: a postwar winery turned into a barefoot luxury resort.

It all began when visionary hotelier Nikos Karaflos approached Eleni Tranouli to imagine a bespoke art concept for his award-winning Dexamenes Seaside Hotel, that opened this season at Kourouta Beach. Captivated by K-studio’s monastic design of the hotel, the curator started digging into the site’s industrial past rooted in wine production and trade, to devise Kantharos Gatherings, a series of multi-sensory wine tasting events, staged by emerging contemporary artists, with offerings sourced from exciting local wineries.

The name for the events derives from the ancient Greek cup kantharos, a typical vase used for drinking wine, and an attribute to the god Dionysus. During summer, handpicked creatives were invited to explore Dexamenes as residents and stage multi-sensory, site-conscious wine tastings, affording guests a transformative journey through sound, visual narratives, performative objects, costumes and flavors.

The artists headlining at Dexamenes this season were Panos Profitis, Despina Charitonidi, and Paky Vlassopoulou. On June and July, Profitis and Charitonidi joined forces for Spit, a moving, participatory experience engaging with performance, site-based sculptural elements, sound, and industrial scenography. On August, Vlassopoulou staged Tonight, we’re going to do some very gentle whispers (with elements of haircut), a wine tasting journey inside the hotel, combining elements of purity, care, pleasure and personal attention.

Guests got to taste wines, that had been carefully selected by expert sommelier Chryssa Giatra Batzi, from the distinguished Mercouri, Brintziki, Markogianni, and Stavropoulos wine estates in Ilia, each of whom carries its own special tradition in winemaking. The finger food was conceived, especially for each event, by the head chef of Dexamenes, Spyros Drakoulis.

Kantharos Gatherings is an ongoing investigation on Dexamenes’ identity in transit. It aspires to reshape the site’s collective memory and cultural significance, while connecting local producers with global creative minds.

Eleni Tranouli offers research-based curatorial and advisory services driven by art as experience. She believes that art can elevate the everyday, challenge perception and help access a refined way of living. With a focus on hospitality and a flair for affecting design, she develops bespoke art concepts that give form to people’s ideas and fantasies about the places they inhabit and traverse.

Panos Profitis’ practice is rooted in movement, rituals, body gestures and characters. He often works with industrial materials and fabricates unusual objects that get activated through performance. His inspiration comes from the systems of objects that surrounds us, food culture, the human condition and strange personalities. He often expresses feelings and situations through the use of masks, and contemporary and archaic symbols.

Despina Charitonidi’s work spans sculpture, site specific installations and performative art. She is particularly interested in studying the properties of different materials and what they evoke to the viewer. Many of her works introduce notions of weight and balance. Her practice explores issues like the relationship between intimacy and power. In her performances, she treats body as a tool for limited capabilities, uncontrolled fragility and mimic repetition.

Paky Vlassopoulou’s work is informed by the dialectics of traditional sculpture making in relation to spatial issues, object hood, functionality and bodily experiences. She is often concerned with thematics that deal with knowledge production, history, ruins and issues with issues revolving around the service providing industries by questioning the role of care and hospitality.

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