The Bel Group (Groupe Bel or Fromageries Bel) is a multinational cheese marketer entered in France. As of 2015, the Bel Group is established in 33 countries and its products are sold in 130 countries. Based on a firm desire on behalf of the industrial group to develop a policy committed to the support and promotion of contemporary art, open and accessible to the general public, Bel Group in 2010 created its artistic laboratory Lab’Bel.

The Lab Bel’s exhibition project Metaphoria I was born in 2011 considering the differences between visual art and poetry, in form and content, but also in reception. Few years later, the second edition, Metaphoria II, took place in Athens. On the 5th floor of an abandoned building in district Metaxourghio, overlooking the city of Athens, Metaphoria II brought together 10 international artists, site-specific works and an audio installation, a chorus of pan-European actors reading a poem of Rui Costa, who died tragically in 2012. Metaphoria II was presented as a group show of contemporary art conceived as a research platform: a dialogue between visual arts and poetry, using metaphors as a medium.

It is surely no coincidence that it was set exactly in Athens: in the classical period known as the cultural centre for the arts, today solely a symbol of the economic crisis impacting the European Community. For many Athenians Metaxourgeio area is a visible illustration of the impact of the economic crisis. Around a third of the houses and shops have been abandoned or have fallen into ruin. A hard drugs scene has emerged, burglary and assaults are common. In addition to the presence of cheap Chinese textile stores and illegal gambling clubs, the most successful form of business in the area is prostitution. For many Athenians, it is now a no-go area. However, it is precisely in this problematic area that over the past few years, many artists’ studios and galleries have been founded and the arts scene has brought social life, urban development and creativity back to the district. For Metaphoria II, abandoned building was used as temporary art space for artists from across the world, who presented their work within the existing urban context, thereby transforming the area into a unique meeting point for contemporary art.

This catalog was conceived as a virtual tour of the exhibition Metaphoria II, a journey to Athens, to the creation of an art show and behind the scenes, to the exhibition and the artworks themselves, but also to the dismantling of the exhibition, and other aspects concerning this experimental project. Since within Metaphoria II project things were transported in boxes (artworks, ideas, experiments and concepts by artists, poetry… ), and all of these things were changed in their journey to their final destination, the catalogue is also packing them within pages, presenting them in a cardboard box, transporting them into a new dimension.

We hope that you will enjoy the tour.

Metaphoria II: Artists: Norbert van Ackeren, Michel Blazy, Ceal Floyer, Gereon Krebber, Ugo Rondinone, Karin Sander, Gregor Schneider, Michael Staab, Nisrek Varhonja, Lawrence Weiner/Poetry: Rui Costa/Curators: Silvia Guerra, Michael Staab/Text: Silvia Guerra, Michael Staab/Production: Lab’Bel Artistic laboratory of the Bel Group, director Laurent Fiévet, artistic Director Silvia Guerra/Graphic Design: SONDA, Croatia/Photographers: Alistair Overbruck, Nikos Kokkas, Sergio Moura, Michael Staab, François Prodromidès