Room Tale Old gleam Greenwood Last glass of wine Backdoor to democracy Juice

KIA Lordship

KIA Lordship

The architecture merely provides an inkling of the splendour of times past. Not far from Athens, in an expansive, partly overgrown estate, is the former residence of Constantine  II, the last king of Greece who ruled until 1974. Slowly yet surely, nature is reclaiming the refuge. It seems as if the Greeks simply want to forget their last monarch. The vast palace complex which once bustled with activity is rotting away, the land surrounding it is overgrown and nobody at all appears to be interested in this wonderful place.

Tini Papamichalis and Dietmar Baum present Tatoi - the first in a series on the subject of fallen powers. They have created an impressive still life featuring the present-day remnant of a former era. Shocking yet poetic - an entire epoch is rotting away behind nailed-down window shutters. The books, still open as if the reader hastily put them aside, are decaying. Cars are still parked in the garages as if somebody forgot to collect them. Only a horse and rider statue indicates that this is the former residence of the nation’s ruler. The beholder automatically imagines what the rooms in the photographs would have looked like when filled with life, creating images in his mind’s eye of the splendour and atmosphere that they exuded.

The king escaped into exile in 1967. In 1974, Greece abolished its monarchy. This was followed by years of legal battles about the palace’s ownership. Ultimately, the Greek government - which considered the palace to be public property - emerged victorious. Constantine II was permitted to sell his furniture. Since then, the Greeks have cared very little about his property.

The Tatoi photos depict the decay of a glittering age. The photographers have subtly captured the aesthetic side of morbidity, yet their work goes beyond mere aesthetics, making reference to the attitude and values of a nation. No other place more effectively demonstrates their cold disregard for forgotten treasures to the world.

It is inevitable that there will come a time when enchanted-looking Tatoi palace no longer exists for anyone, and it is now up for sale in the wake of the economic recession.


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Tini Papamichalis
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