June 10, 2013


Being as a rule resistant to the charms of kitsch, I never really warmed to the photographs of scantily-clad cabaret dancers prancing about the Acropolis which were shot in the late 1920s by Elly Seraidari (a.k.a. Nelly or, more irritatingly, Nelly’s). At the time, they provoked considerable admiration and, what was probably even more valuable as a career-booster, generated much outraged spluttering and frothing at the mouth.

Distinctly more interesting is this homage, or perhaps more accurately this détournement, which my colleagues Penelope Petsini and Nikos Panayotopoulos recently discovered in the form of a poster in the neighbourhood of the new Acropolis Museum in Athens. Ostensibly an advertisement urging visitors to “discover the greek goddess inside you” and promising “a unique photographic experience, the best souvenir from the land of light and culture”, it is in fact a brilliant deconstruction, in image and text, of the rhetoric of Seraidari’s original.

Elly Seraidari, Nikolska, 1929

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