Gouseti works in the field of artistic research, examining social ostensibly contradictory conditions through communication with the communities involved. In her work process, she employs archival material and collections, using tools from social anthropology, historical research and fieldwork; while being in dialogue with the local community. The artistic outcome of her research does not consist of pieces that aim to document or report, but of works that explore the role and potentiality of art and research as a transformative tool.
At Grimmuseum, Gouseti will present her ongoing research-based project The present as a Result of the Past, in which she studies the case of Kalavryta, a town with a unique charge in modern Greek history. On 13.12.1943, the Wehrmacht burnt down Kalavryta, destroying food reserves and executing all male inhabitants older than 14 years. The traumatic event led to a complex situation in the town and created personal tensions as well as historical and ideological constructions that are still present today. Since 2012, Gouseti is working with the inhabitants of the town, including the female survivors and witnesses of the event and the younger generations.
The exhibition The Present as a Result of the Past will show works connected to the research, including archival material, woodprints, installation and film, some of which were realised in collaboration with the inhabitants of Kalavryta.
By using the complex situation in Kalavryta as a study case, Fotini Gouseti addresses a larger whole and a set of questions – not only in regard to the situation in Greece, where the financial and social crisis pointed out the lack of historical information – but generally, in terms of historical narratives: How is the past narrated or not narrated? How do the complex compositions of (hi)stories formulate the present? How does society define the notion of the Other and the Foreigner? Gouseti’s interest in the past is pragmatic and practical – aiming to achieve a better understanding of the present and using this knowledge as a tool for the future.