In November 2000, Els Hanappe Underground opened as a gallery for contemporary art in Athens, Greece. The gallery’s mission was to introduce international artists to the Greek cultural scene and to promote young Greek artists abroad.

Els Hanappe Underground was located in Psyrri, a popular neighbourhood with an Eastern feel and buzz. Outdoor sellers compete with overflowing shop windows, beggars and stray dogs switch places in the shade. It is an artists’ paradise; everything is for sale, from a needle to an anchor. One can visit the extensive meat, fish and vegetable markets or bargain with the East-European cigarette and perfume smugglers. Trendy bars, restaurants, shops and galleries co-exist with local workshops and artisans; lively outdoor cafes alternate with lovely old churchyards. Behind one of the Byzantine churches, on a quiet side street, was the entrance to Els Hanappe Underground. A big metal door opened up to a marble stairway that led you down into the gallery. Here, one could take a break from the hubbub of the city, contemplate a work of art, leaf through a magazine from the library, discuss or chat with visiting artists, while sitting on the cushioned ledges around the walls.

Els Hanappe Underground showed a tendency towards exhibitions by artists born in the 60s and 70s whose concern is pretty much related to the heritage of that era, and the influence of high and late modernism. References are made to other fields including advertising, architecture, and music, expressed in a multitude of media, most notably drawing, a focus on new sculpture, and video. The gallery was increasingly intent on creating a dialogue on the nature of contemporaneity, bringing together seemingly opposite sides such as the socio-political interpretations of the world – often through the use of the documentary style, with reflections as expressed through the more traditional and formal media such as painting and sculpture.

Past Program

Archeology of Today?, curated by Vangelis Vlahos & Despina Zefkili
Contibutors: Albert Heta, Duncan Campbell, Hito Steyerl, Stephen Sutcliffe, Yiannis Grigoriadis, Zbynek Baladran, 7/12/2005 – 21/1/2006

Screening with works by Nathalie Djurberg, Yiannis Grigoriadis, Carolina Saquel, Nayia Frangouli
26/11/2005 & 3/12/2005, 12-8 p.m.

Yiannis Grigoriadis, Melancholy of an autumn afternoon (after De Chirico), 3/11/2005 – 25/11/2005

Christos Lialios, Setting up a brand new alphabet, 13/10/2005 – 29/10/2005

Robert Platt & Takeshi Masada, Practically Sublime, duo show, 8/9/2005 – 8/10/2005

Nayia Frangouli, The Misuse of Plans, 21/5/2005 – 25/6/2005

Adam Chodzko, Alan Michael, Corrina Peipon, Jason Middlebrook, Katja Strunz, Nayia Frangouli, Vangelis Vlahos, The Armory Show, 11-14/3/2005, Piers 90 & 92, booth 92-132, New York

Accrochage with the gallery artists, 23/3/2005 – 23/4/2005

Despina Isaïa & Hatice Güleryüz, duo show, 20/1/2005 – 19/2/2005

Corrina Peipon & Nina Papaconstantinou, con(text)ure (duo show) and a presentation of the publication Gagarin, 9/12/2004 – 13/1/2005

Hito Steyerl & Vangelis Vlahos, duo show, 21/10/2004 – 20/11/2004

Adam Chodzko, Design for a Carnival, 9/9/2004 – 9/10/2004

Koen Wastijn & Nicolas Kozakis, duo show (on the occasion of the Olympic Games), 20/5/2004 – 10/7/2004 and   3-31/8/2004 from 20.00-24.00 every day

Apostolos Karastergiou, art athina 04, 7 – 10/5/2004

Yiannis Grigoriadis, Arabophobia, 25/2/2004 – 7/4/2004

Despina Isaia, Nayia Frangouli, Nina Papaconstantinou, ARCO – Grecia 04, 12-16/2/2004

Jason Middlebrook, APL#2, 10/12/2003 – 7/2/2004

Vangelis Vlahos, Project, October 2003

Group Show curated by Gary Webb, Help
Participating artists: Antje Majewski, Gary Webb, Henry Coleman, James Baxter, James Ferris, Katja Strunz, Luke Dowd, Nicole Wermers, Roger Hiorns, Saron Hughes, 25/10/2003 – 6/12/2003

Valérie Mannaerts, Month of Photography, Drawings and Photographs, (catalogue entry)

Hayley Tompkins, Katja Strunz, Valerie Mannaerts, three subsequent women artists’ shows, 4/2003 – 7/2003
Text by Katerina Gregos

Jason Meadows, Story Book Medicine Levels, 26/2/2003 – 5/3/2003

Apostolos Karastergiou & Despina Isaïa, duo show, 23/1/2003 – 22/2/2003

Barbara Visser, The World belongs to Early Risers, 22/11/2002 – 11/1/2003, Text by Alexandra Koroxenidis

Vangelis Vlahos, Intermezzo

Alex Slade, The paintings of Mrs. Margaret C. Wellington, Mansett, ME, 26/9/2002 -19/10/2002

Art Cologne, 30/10/2002 – 3/11/2002

Peter Downsbrough, Kurt D’Haeseleer, and Ken Kobland,  selection by Argos (Brussels), video projection introducing three short films – program 1h10′, 25/9/2002, 9:00 pm

Alex Slade, The paintings of Mrs. Margaret C. Wellington, Mansett, ME, 5 – 27/7/2002

Alan Michael & Vangelis Vlahos, duo show, 18/4/2002 – 8/6/2002

Vangelis Vlahos with Scott Myles, Stephen Sutcliffe, and Mary Redmond, The PRoject SPace
Hosted by Els Hanappe Underground and The Breeder basements projects, 7 – 30/3/2002

Kate Barba, Painting Exhibition, 19/1/2002 – 16/2/2002

Art Athina ’01, 23-26/11/2001

Adam Chodzko, Limbo Land, 24/11/2001 – 22/12/2001

Eva Rothschild, Sculpture Exhibition, 20/10/2001 – 17/11/2001

George Kazazis, Painting Exhibition, 7/6/2001 – 7/7/2001

Martin Boyce, Disappear Here, 11/5/2001 – 2/6/2001

Vangelis Vlahos, Project, 30/3/2001-5/5/2001, Text by Liberty Vance

Dave Muller, ‘Music’ three day weekend, exhibition and event organized by the artist, 24, 25, 26/2/2001, music by DJ Handpuppet and DJ Mulldozer

Dimitra Barba, I Love You Love Me Love, 12/1/2001 – 17/2/2001

Alan Michael, Keith Farquhar and Lucy Mckenzie, Panache by Flourish Studio, Glasgow, 4/11/2000 – 23/12/2000

Original images by Vivianna Athanasopoulou except if otherwise stated.